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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 13th March, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor C.J. Williams (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. M. Kelly Owen (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. M.E. Alexander, J.C. Bird, R.F. Curtis, G. John, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Mrs. S.I. Sharpe, R.P. Thomas, M.R. Wilson and Ms. M. Wright.

 

Also present:  Councillors G.A. Cox, A.D. Hampton, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, H.J.W. James and R.L. Traherne.

 

 

969     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

An apology for absence was initially received for Councillor M.R. Wilson who arrived later during the meeting.

 

 

970     MINUTES -

 

The Chairman put forward amendments to the minutes of 17th January, 2012 which following a show of hands were not accepted.

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meetings held on 17th January, 2012 and 7th February, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

971     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillor G. John declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 8 (Proposed Fees and Charges for 2012/2013 Visible Services) in that he had a personal interest in relation to football pitch service charges and withdrew from the meeting when the item was being considered.

 

 

972     CARDIFF AIRPORT - REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION OF MATTER -

 

Councillor R.F. Curtis had requested that the matter be considered to allow the Scrutiny Committee to investigate whether the Vale of Glamorgan Council could give more effective support and assistance for the sustainable development and growth of Cardiff Airport.  Members had a few days before   the meeting received copies of the Cardiff Airport presentation and the latest minutes of the Cardiff Airport Consultative Committee meeting that had been held on 10th January, 2012.  Further copies were also available at the meeting and had been uploaded to the Council's website.  Prior to the commencement of the presentation, Councillor Curtis stated that he was disappointed that no formal report from the Department had been presented to the Committee with the agenda.   

 

Officers had arranged for a presentation by Mr. Steve Hodgetts, the Business Development and Commercial Director for Cardiff Airport who thanked the Scrutiny Committee for the opportunity to attend the meeting. In commencing Mr Hodgetts stated that the airport had significant capacity for any airline who wished to approach the airport.  He however, referred to the failure of BMI Baby to maintain fleet size at Cardiff pointing out that all the decisions were unilateral by the airline and had not been as a result of the airports charging regime.  He stressed that any airport was dependent upon the commitment and credibility of its airline partners.  He stated that Wales had the lowest GDP values which was a key detriment to the propensity to travel and was a primary measure used by airlines in evaluating routes.  The issue was also compounded by the relative inequality of South Wales with Bristol, the larger population of the Bristol catchment area affected how airlines determined which market they served.  The presentation highlighted the catchment comparisons between Cardiff Airport and Bristol as detailed below:

 

Catchment Comparison

Cardiff Airport

Bristol Airport

Population within 60 minute drive radius (2007)

circa 1.8 million

circa 3.4 million (+89%)

Average GDP per head (2009)

£15,418

£19,063 (+24%)

 

Mr Hodgetts provided a chart relating to Passenger growth by service type at Cardiff Airport from 1997 to 2011 which identified the volatility of Cardiff's airline mix.  The decline from its peak in 2007 had been due to the recession leading to attrition from BMI Baby and charter and he stated that unlike the dip in 2002 when British Airways left, it had not been possible to secure a large scale replacement.  The report stated that Amsterdam remained the busiest route from Cardiff and the one with greatest connectivity and economic benefit.  Edinburgh retained a mix of two way traffic and business and leisure traffic, however, due to double APD capacity and frequency had been lost and despite Malaga being the fifth busiest route airlines had been reluctant to replace the lost BMI Baby capacity. The presentation also provided details on the 2012 routes operated from Cardiff Airport, the frequency and the operating airline source. 

 

The passenger traffic profile for 2010 identified for Cardiff' 20% of users were travelling for business with 72% for leisure purposes.  It was noted that of those using Cardiff 77% of them were Welsh originating with 23% from outside of Wales over the whole year.  This had been influenced by charter and low cost leisure flying.  In winter the proportion of non Welsh users could be as high as 60%. 

 

The passenger reasons for not flying from Cardiff were detailed as follows:

 

·         choice of destination

·         choice of flights

·         ticket price

·         other

·         airline brand choice

·         time of flights

·         cost of parking/travel to airport

·         accessibility of the airport

·         range and quality of shops, catering and other facilities.

 

The percentages identified that a lack of destinations was key, followed by frequency and ticket price.  In referring to surface access to Cardiff Airport Mr. Hodgetts advised that passengers access the airport by car which was not surprising given the strong predominance of Welsh originating passengers and the currently poor frequencies on public transport (Survey source CAA). The greatest proportion were dropped off thereby increasing the number of access journeys made per passenger. Even with a mature and frequent public transport system it was unlikely that access by public transport could be greater than 20%.

 

With regard to incentives and how other airlines could be attracted to Cardiff Airport incentives were offered and identifying promoting its attractions undertaken representatives also attended key airline and travel trade conferences to promote the airport, provide regular contact and bespoke presentations. Cardiff airport also matched the efforts that were made by other regional airports, however, the issues that inhibit the airline were detailed as follows:

 

·         the economic slowdown

·         high fuel prices

·         air passenger duty

·         socio demographics of Wales

·         level of support/subsidy available

·         consolidation and strategic focus

·         competition from everywhere .

 

The vision was “to see Cardiff Airport develop as a major economic generator and a transport hub and to develop the area around it as a thriving business destination.”  With regard to working with the Council Mr Hodgetts stated that a very strong working relationship existed and the Airport had also been a participant in the LDP.  The Airport Consultative Committee was also open to the public with questions taken from the floor.  With regard to recent highway changes, the Council assisted the airport in these as well working in conjunction with the Tourism Section in promoting the Vale which was a co-ordinated approach.

 

In considering the presentation, a question and answer session ensued as detailed below.

 

Question

Response

Would you be a supporter for upgrading the Five Mile Lane?

Yes, we are already on record as supporting that. The airport would also like to undertake discussions regarding a direct rail link. 

 

There is a concern in relation to the difficulties for rail travellers from West Wales, would it be possible to utilise the station Rhoose and offer a shuttle service to the airport

Cardiff airport would be happy to work with others to consider all options.

What is the position regarding landing fees?

BMI Baby had the best deal with the airport.  The airport tries to assist all airlines whether new or expanding their fleet.

We should consider other facilities that could be offered to the public to encourage visitor numbers in the area e.g.  5* hotels, other types of attractions similar to theme parks etc. that could encourage people to visit.

The problem with the airport is that it is a 1970s building but the interior is fit for purpose and the regulators and Civil Aviation Authority confirm this and would not recommend other usage.  A planning application was approved some time ago for further development of the airport refurbishment etc but with the current financial climate it has been unable to fund any improvements/ additions.

 

The Cabinet Member, with permission to speak from the Committee, advised that from his perspective transport issues had been addressed in the LDP with the allocation of land being included.

 

Members considered that Gateway Wales should be recognised within the LDP and that all organisations needed t work together.  The Clerk referred to a tentative enquiry from the Scrutiny Office in Cardiff who was preparing a scoping exercise for future work programmes with one item possibly being a review of Cardiff Airport and the possibility of a joint scrutiny review with the Vale of Glamorgan.  However, these were tentative enquiries and whether Cardiff Airport would be considered as a work programme item for Cardiff in the future would be considered following the Local Government elections.

 

Having fully considered the report it was subsequently 

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Committee receives a presentation from Gateway Wales at a future meeting.

 

(2)       T H A T a report detailing the Welsh Government's position, the Council’s position and what the Council could do to encourage the sustainability of Cardiff Airport be brought to a future meeting.

 

(3)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee writes to the Welsh Government expressing concern about access into the Vale to Cardiff Airport and that they consider a reduction of air passenger duty to assist in the airport’s sustainability and encouragement of its use.

 

(4)       T H A T the Welsh Government develop a five to ten year plan in conjunction with the Vale of Glamorgan Council for the sustainability of Cardiff Airport.

 

(5)       T H A T following the Local Government Elections further enquiries be made with Cardiff Council regarding the possible suggestion of a Joint Scrutiny Review in respect of Cardiff Airport.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1&2)  To apprise Members.

 

(3)       To express the concerns of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

(4)       In the interests of sustainability.

 

(5)       To progress the issue.

 

 

973     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2011 TO 31ST JANUARY, 2012 (DEER) -

 

The Revenue Budget and projected outturn for 2011/12 was shown at Appendix 1 to the report.  There was currently a reported £24,000 adverse variance to the profiled budget for Visible Services Highways Maintenance and Engineering Design and Procurement which was mainly due to the increased spend on pot-holes due to the condition of the highway.  For Visible Services Waste Management there was a current £116,000 favourable variance to the profiled budget mainly due to tonnages to landfill dropping as the food waste and co-mingled recycling programmes were rolled out, therefore saving on costly landfill disposal.  Officers had also managed to renegotiate the contract for recycling treatment which would mean a lower spend than budgeted. The budget was expected to outturn with a £100,000 favourable variance to offset the projected overspend within the Planning Section.

 

Visible Services Grounds Maintenance - there was currently a £5,000 adverse variance to the profiled budget.  This was mainly due to an increased spend on utility bills and repair costs to buildings owned by grounds maintenance.    The budget would be monitored closely to ensure these savings were met and the budget outturned on target.

 

The favourable variance of £142,000 reported for Visible Services Support which was previously earmarked to be used for any cost pressures within Visible Services throughout the financial year was to be held for the projected overspend within Leisure Services. There was currently an adverse variance of £530,000 to the profiled budget for Leisure and Tourism with the anticipated year end overspend on the service reported to be £170,000, which related to an increase in Leisure Centres running costs and a reduction in anticipated income and would be funded from savings in the Visible Services budget.  An overspend of £500,000 had previously been reported to the Committee which related to the delay in implementing the Leisure Centre Partnership, was to be funded from Policy.  To regularise the position Cabinet would be requested to agree to a virement of £500,000 to this service from Policy. The amended revenue budget was shown at Appendix 1 and took account of this virement.

 

With regard to Planning and Transportation a current adverse variance of £60,000 to the profiled budget identified that a year end overspend of £100,000 was anticipated due to a fall in planning fees as a result of a delay in the submission of some major schemes.  This overspend would be met from savings identified within Visible Services.

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st January, 2012. 

 

The report also made reference to three schemes as detailed below:

 

Road Safety Capital Grant 2011/12 – Welsh Government had approved the additional grant of £12,000 for line and signage works at Lower Green Farm along the A48.  The Chief Executive had exercised his emergency powers to include this grant in the Capital Programme in order that the money could be spent before the 31st March deadline.  

 

Safe Routes in Communities 2011/12 - extensive works were being undertaken along Colcot Road and Port Road, Barry, to establish a footpath/ cycle route from Barry Comprehensive School eastwards along Port Road.  This work was being carried out by the Council’s in-house Highways Contracting Unit and was 100% funded from the Welsh Government's Transport Grant.  The scope of the works had recently been increased with additional grant allocations such that the works were to be extended to the top of the Barry Docks Link Road.  Works were proceeding well and a full spend of the £708,000 grant allocation was expected to be achieved by the end of March.  The additional funding offer had been accepted and Chief Executive emergency powers had been exercised in order to include the funding in the Capital Programme.  

 

Barry Waterfront Park & Ride - a recent bid for further grant funding for the scheme had been approved by WG.  It had became necessary for an additional £83,000 to be requested due to unforeseen rock excavation costs, new drainage runs due to poor ground conditions and extension of time and demobilisation/remobilisation costs due to Network Rail delays.  The additional funding offer had been accepted and Chief Executive emergency powers had been exercised in order to include the funding in the capital programme.  

 

The report further outlined that Cabinet had previously agreed that further information would be provided to Members where schemes had a value of over £500,000 and showed a variance of 20% or more of actual spend and the profile.  The scheme meeting the criteria to date was the Vehicle Replacement Programme.  Orders had been placed for replacement vehicles but the Fleet Manager was still awaiting delivery before payments could be made.  Lengthy build times on some vehicles had caused delays in delivery.  However, Members were informed that the majority of the budget should be spent though an element may need to be slipped into 2012/13 if the vehicles were not received by the year end.

 

In considering the report, Members requested further details on the following items and that the information be e-mailed to Members of the Committee:

 

·         enforcement parking financial details

·         Oystercatcher scheme

·         Cogan Park and Ride scheme

·         Ewenny Bridge and Cross Common Road Bridge.

 

Members also raised concerns in relation to the Port Road Cycleway in that they sought confirmation to ensure that the works undertaken would be completed to a satisfactory standard.  Members were informed that officers were keeping a watchful brief on the scheme and any matters would be reported immediately. 

 

Having regard to the above requests it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the 2011/12 Revenue and Capital Monitoring position be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

For Members' information.

 

 

974     TOWN CENTRE - SHOP LOCAL CAMPAIGNS (DEER) - REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION -

 

Councillor R.F. Curtis had requested an investigation into the possibility of whether the Vale of Glamorgan Council could in partnership with local businesses and Town and Community Councils run a Shop Local Campaign in each of its towns and villages. 

 

The report advised that Shop Local Campaigns were internationally recognised and practiced and were seen by many communities as the answer to the competition and negative effects of out of town shopping developments that had been developed in communities over the past 20 years.  The primary reasons for introducing a SLC were stated as

 

·         sustainability of a home town or village was more important than buying items cheaper elsewhere

·         reduce the carbon footprint

·         competition and diversity results in fair prices and more choices.

 

Shopping local was seen as a good initiative for the environment.  It was noted that local shops tend to stock a high proportion of locally sourced produce and if more people shopped locally the need to travel on public but especially private transport would be reduced, thus reducing CO2 emissions.  The availability of local shopping was also important for the vulnerable members of the community i.e. older people, young people and those who could not afford transport as they benefited from the goods and services offered locally.  The Council was currently working on a Town Centre Framework to develop a realistic future plan for each of the four principal town centres and considered that a Shop Local Campaign in certain areas may be a project that retailers and town councils may wish to pursue in order to market the goods and services on offer. 

 

The Operational Manager for the service area stated that in order to run a Vale wide Shop Local Campaign a budget would be required to fund such costs as web design, printing, marketing and remuneration as well as the time spent managing the scheme and dealing with relevant enquires from the retail sector and general public. 

 

The Council's Economic Development Unit dealt with a variety of issues including town centre management matters and as a consequence, whilst the Council would be in a position to support any SLC by way of example, through providing web links to any SLC website and facilitating discussions through existing working arrangements such as the Retailers Forum it could not and as the report stated should not be the organisation with the responsibility for any SLC.  This also appeared to be the considered view of representatives who had provided evidence to the Scrutiny Committee on Loyalty Card Schemes and agreed that retailers should take the lead.

 

In addition, the report highlighted that the existing Town Centre Management Service Budget was not in a position to extend itself to finance a Shop Local Campaign.

 

Councillor Curtis who had instigated the request stated he had been pleased with the report before the Committee and in his opinion it was a responsibility that the Council should take the lead on in order to promote and support the idea of a Shop Local Campaign throughout the Vale.  Some Members concurred that in their opinion local businesses/retailers should, in the first instance, take the lead on such a campaign and consultation should take place with the business community.

 

During consideration of the matter, Councillor Ms. M.E. Alexander referred to an issue that had been raised by traders in High Street in Barry in relation to health and safety rules that they had to adhere to and the cost of such implementation.  Councillor A.D. Hampton, Local Ward Member, with permission to speak, shared these concerns stating that the Council had considered a number of avenues to support the traders and had spoken to the Health and Safety Executive regarding the issue.  The Operational Manager advised that he would look further into the matter.

 

The Cabinet Member (Economic Development and Regeneration) with permission to speak stated that he would be happy to ensure that copies of the report were presented to the next meeting of the Retailers Forum with the Committees approval.

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the business community be consulted on the benefits of setting up a Shop Local Campaign.

 

(2)       T H A T following the Cabinet Member's agreement, copies of the report be circulated to the Retailers Forum for information and consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To pursue the initiative with the Business Community.

(2)       To apprise the Retailers Forum of the contents of the report to encourage the development of Shop Local Campaigns.

 

 

975     WASTE MINIMISATION AND BIO-DEGRADABLE PACKAGING (DEER) - REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION -

 

Councillor R.F. Curtis had submitted a request to investigate whether the Vale of Glamorgan Council could educate and encourage all local fast food outlets for fixed premises and mobile to convert to using minimal and bio-degradable packaging, the reason for the request being as detailed below:

 

“The blight of 'fast food' litter could be observed throughout Barry and its sister towns and villages throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.  Its thrown around our hedgerows, parks and beaches.  Polystyrene food boxes and drink cups are a particular problem.  Because polystyrene is made from crude oil, it is non-renewable, non-biodegradable and virtually non recyclable.

 

Plastic food service ware often ends up in landfills, streams or the ocean.  It then breaks down into smaller pieces which are often mistaken for food and ingested by marine animals, birds and fish.  Some medical experts even suggest that chemicals called phthalates in polystyrene foam are carcinogenic and may leach into our food or drink!

 

So replacing plastics in our 'fast food' packaging could be good for our resident's health as well as also caring for our environment.  Bio-packaging is made from natural raw materials such as corn starch, sugar cane and wood pulp.  Another good reason to convert to bio-packaging is that it takes less energy to produce, less carbon emissions and therefore helps us to reduce our carbon footprint.

 

Plastic packaging can take up to 1000 years to degrade naturally while packaging made from natural plant materials can be turned into compost after just 12 weeks.

 

By convincing as many local fast food businesses, both fixed premises and mobile, to convert to minimal bio-degradable packaging would save the Council thousands of pounds in street cleaning bills each year.

 

Many forward thinking businesses and companies have already converted to using bio-packaging and the unit price for bio-packaging is now competing well with oil based plastic alternatives (see McDonalds and M&S are good examples of companies changing policy).

 

Has the Vale of Glamorgan Council committed itself to phasing in bio-packaging throughout its catering operations?

 

Can we educate and encourage current fast food businesses to convert to bio-packaging?

 

Can we use planning powers to force new establishments to commit to using bio-packaging?

 

Can we supply local fast food outlets with contact information on bio-packaging manufacturers?”

 

Councillor Curtis took the opportunity to thank the Operational Manager for Waste Management for a comprehensive report which considered the advantages and disadvantages of both minimising packaging and the use of bio-degradable packaging as an alternative to the traditional oil based packaging products. 

 

The recognised pros and cons detailed in the report were referred to as follows:

 

“Pros

 

·         Litter will degrade away after only a couple of months, instead of breaking down over hundreds of years in landfill.

·         The ability to hold any type of food, whether it be hot, cold, solid or liquid.

·         A wide range of products are available including: bags, cutlery, plates and boxes.

·         The material breaks down in the composting process.

·         More positive public relations in promoting and using bio-degradable packaging as it is seen to be environmental friendly.

·         If marketed properly, the use of this material could capture more recycling.  Whereas previously the packaging could have been contaminated by organic waste, and would have to be sent to landfill.  Cleaning the material to remove any food residue would be impractical to householders stopping them putting their packaging into our recycling collection service.  By being able to compost both the packing and the organic waste together through the same process could divert more packaging from landfill.

 

Cons

·         Poor promotion of bio-degradable packaging can increase litter levels.  Public perception could be that it is acceptable to throw unwanted packaging on the floor as it will ‘degrade’ away.

·         A question mark remains on whether bio-degradable packaging is sustainable.  Can any item that is made to be disposable ultimately be sustainable? 

·         It can make recycling slightly more complicated for the householder.  There would be a need for greater public awareness, e.g. do they place the disposable cutlery in the dry recycling or Kitchen food waste bin?

·         Non bio-degradable packaging, such as plastic cups, can be recycled into something else.  Bio-degradable packing will just break down into compost.

·         If bio-degradable packaging is sent to landfill, it breaks down anaerobically which releases methane.

·         There are ethical questions about the sustainability of the source of raw material that produces bio-degradable packaging.  Plantations to grow the raw material have been taking over areas of natural rainforest in some developing countries.  With the corn or palm being more economically viable than the rainforest.

·         Unsuitable for long term storage.

·         Lack of guidelines as to what is truly bio-degradable.  A product that could take 100 years to breakdown can still claim to be bio-degradable.

·         The correct environmental conditions are required to enable the material to degrade.  Newspapers are still legible after decades in landfill, as in order to degrade they must have the right conditions.  (Many items are already bio-degradable, but it’s the environment that determines whether the item will actually break down or not).

·         Bio-degradable packaging is generally more expensive to purchase than the equivalent traditional non bio-degradable option.”

 

The Operational Manager highlighted that on balance bio-degradable packaging was a better environment choice than traditional oil based products for factors such as storage times and price can be significant.  The Council's catering service was also making a concerted effort to increase the range of bio-degradable products used and their packaging and product statistics were detailed at Appendix A to the report.  Although it would be possible to encourage businesses to use more bio or degradable packaging the Operational Manager stated that the Council had no powers to enforce such a product change.  In addition he advised that the use of bio-degradable packaging would not stop littering and whilst in the longer term the material would do less harm to the environment in the short or medium term the packaging when discarded was clarified as litter.  The Council's legal duties to address the cleanliness for fast food outlets in such areas in or close to town centres meant that the litter would be collected in under 7 days and sometimes within 24 hours.  It would also be impossible for the street cleaning crews to separate the bio-degradable waste from the non bio-degradable and therefore all the waste would be sent to landfill.

 

The report also highlighted guidance on the use of planning conditions which stated that conditions had to be reasonable and enforceable and importantly, relevant to planning.  Whilst it was accepted that inappropriately discarded fast food packaging was blight, it was considered that the Council would receive more value from promoting greater awareness of the sense of littering whether this be smoking related litter or fast food packaging. 

 

The report however, suggested that the website be updated to feature information and advice on food packaging for traders with appropriate links to other organisations such as the Environment Agency where further details could be obtained.  Also, the Council's Catering Service would continue with their efforts to reduce non bio-degradable packaging but only where such changes were affordable and that officers give further consideration to the details of the LEAMS report 2010/11 and establish whether education awareness campaigns could be utilised to better address the specific littering problems that had been identified within the report for the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

During discussion Members referred to the success of the McDonalds Fast Food Outlet where polystyrene products had been replaced with cardboard and paper based packaging and concurred that it was essential to educate young people and adults to highlight the problems of waste management and concurred with the conclusions and the detail that had been identified within the report.  The Operational Manager further highlighted that within the Directorate existed an Education Awareness Team which was highlighting the issue at every opportunity within existing resources. 

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Council's website details be amended to feature advice on waste minimisation and the use of bio-degradable packaging for retail food outlets.

 

(2)       T H A T the Council's Catering Service continues to increase the range of bio-degradable products used subject to the budgetary constraints of this service.

 

(3)       T H A T all fast food outlets within the Vale of Glamorgan are advised of the website information and access arrangements as part of the current contact and correspondence processes operated by the Council's Regulatory Services Division.

 

(4)       T H A T Officers consider any measures necessary to address the specific littering problems identified within the Vale of Glamorgan by the Local Environmental Audit and Management System Report (LEAMS) 2010 / 2011.

 

Reasons for the recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that relevant information is available at low cost.

 

(2)       To continue to reduce the amount of non bio-degradable packaging should funding allow.

 

(3)       To provide a low cost method of advising fast food outlets of the new web site information.

 

(4)       To more effectively target resources to the specific problems identified by the independent report.

 

 

976     VISIBLE SERVICES PROPOSED FEES AND CHARGES FOR 21012/13 (DEER) -

 

The report detailed proposed increases in service charges for functions  managed by Visible Services for the financial year 2012/13.  Members were advised that the Council delivered a number of chargeable services for the Directorate of Environmental and Economic Regeneration and these charges were set on an annual basis.  With the exception of commercial waste and car parking charges, it was proposed to increase charges by 3.75% to assist in covering the cost of inflation.  The proposed charges for services were set out in the appendices to the report as detailed below:

 

·         Appendix 1 - Waste Management and Cleansing

·         Appendix 2 - Highways and Engineering

·         Appendix 3 - Parks and Grounds Maintenance

·         Appendix 4 - Parks and Grounds Maintenance and Porthkerry Cemetery.

 

Committee was informed that due to ongoing increases in landfill charges it was proposed to increase commercial waste charges for residual waste by 10%.  Although noting that whilst the above inflation level cost may detrimentally affect a number of commercial businesses, the private sector had a choice as to whether to use the Council’s refuse collection and recycling service or an alternative service provider.  The Council, in addition, also had a requirement to pass on the full costs of the service to the commercial sector and not to part subsidise any commercial waste activities via either the Council’s direct budgets or the Welsh Government’ specific waste grants.

 

Members were also informed that as part of the continuing initiative to increase kerbside recycling, it was proposed not to increase the cost of reusable green bags (currently priced at £1.00) and that the charges for biodegradable sacks would also be set at the same value as the previous five years at 3 sacks for £1.00. In order to limit the use of plastic carrier bags and as part of the Wales Awareness campaign it was further proposed to keep the cost of the jute useable shopping bags to 50p each.

 

The Operational Manager stated that with regard to coastal car parks it was not proposed to increase these charges but to keep them the same as 2011/12 at £4.00 per day. 

 

In considering the report Members referred to fees and charges for Cosmeston but were advised that this was not within the remit of Visible services the responsibility for that service area lay within the Countryside and Economic projects division.

 

In the promotion of waste awareness and to assist in the promotion of the sale of jute reusable shopping bags Members suggested that officers should contact Town and Community Councils within the Vale to assist in the campaign.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the charging and fee proposals for Visible Services as set out in the report and its appendices be accepted.

 

(2)       T H A T the proposed fees and charges for 2012/13 be forwarded to Cabinet for approval.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To demonstrate the Committee’s approval of the charge increases proposed for 2012/13 as contained within the report and its appendices.

 

(2)       For Executive approval..

 

NB.   Cllr Gwyn John vacated the room during consideration of this item

 

977     PROSIECT GWYRDD JOINT SCRUTINY PANEL MINUTES - 5TH DECEMBER, 2011 -

 

The following minutes of the Prosiect Gwyrdd Joint Scrutiny Panel were presented for Members' information:

 

Present:

Councillor C. J. Williams - Chairman (Vale of Glamorgan Council)

 

Councillors:

Councillors M. G. Parker and D.V. Poole (Caerphilly County Borough Council)

Councillor R. McKerlich and S. Wakefield (Cardiff County Council)

Councillor S. Howarth (Monmouthshire County Council)

Councillors B. Bright and S. Jones (Newport City Council).

Councillor Mrs. M. Kelly-Owen (Vale of Glamorgan Council)

 

Together with:

D. Perkins, J. Jones, and C. Forbes-Thompson (Caerphilly County Borough Council), P. Keeping and R Bowen (Cardiff County Council), D. Collins (Newport City Council), J. Wyatt (Vale of Glamorgan Council) and H. Ilett (Monmouthshire County Council)

 

Prosiect Gwyrdd Officers

M. Williams (Project Director), I. Lloyd-Davies (Communications Officer), A Williamson (Technical Manager), M Falconer (Accountancy Manager), I Evans (Procurement Manager) and J Pritchard (Legal Officer).

 

1.         APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

Apologies for absence were received from, R. Quick (Vale of Glamorgan), M.S. Williams (Caerphilly County Borough Council), and Councillor Ms. V. Smith (Monmouthshire County Council).

 

2.         DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST 

 

There were no declarations of interest received at the commencement or during the course of the meeting.

 

3.         MINUTES – 7 NOVEMBER 2011

 

It was agreed that the minutes of the meeting held on 7th November 2011 be approved as a correct record.

 

            MATTERS ARISING

 

4.         Further to the advice provided at the meeting on the 7th November 2011 Mr D Perkins informed Members that changes to pre-determination rules are included in the Localism Act, recently passed by Parliament.  The Act will apply to England and in part to Wales.

 

            PUBLIC INTEREST TEST (PIT)

 

5.         Mr D Perkins advised the meeting that the PIT sets out the reason why the presentation on the shortlisting process should be considered as an exempt item and invited Members to determine if they would accept his recommendation.

 

            Councillor Bright proposed that in the interests of openness and transparency that the commercially sensitive information should be removed and the presentation given while the meeting is open to the public. The meeting could then be closed to the public and the commercially sensitive information given to Members. Councillor S Jones seconded this proposal.

 

            Prosiect Gwyrdd Officers advised that it would be very difficult as the sensitive information is included throughout the presentation and it could limit Members opportunity for questioning.

 

            A Member suggested that the information in the presentation could be re-drafted without the commercially sensitive information and circulated at a later date, however, it was agreed that it would be difficult to remove the sensitive information from the presentation. Mr Perkins suggested a detailed minute of the meeting, without the commercially sensitive information could be produced. 

 

Members endorsed this suggestion and considered the Public Interest Test and concluded that on balance the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information and it was:-     

 

RESOLVED that in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded for this item because of the likely disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 14 part 4 of schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

            ISDS EVALUATION & ISFT DOCUMENTATION - PRESENTATION

           

6.         Mr M Williams introduced the presentation and explained that he would provide a thorough explanation of the ISDS evaluation process. The presentation would cover 4 main areas:

 

·         Key Decisions.

·         Invitation to submit detailed solution (ISDS) evaluation.

·         Invitation to submit final tender (ISFT) documentation.

·         Timeline.


 

ISDS Decisions

Mr Williams stated that Schedule 1 of the Joint Working Agreement (JWA) defines the key decisions as follows:

 

·         Approve ISDS Evaluation process and selection of bidders for ISFT.

·         Approve of ISFT suite of documents.

·         Close competitive dialogue and issue call for final tenders

 

ISDS Process

This commenced on 7 December 2010 and there were four participants – Covanta, Veolia, Viridor and WRG. WRG withdrew from the process in March 2011. Detailed solutions were submitted in August 2011 and compliance checking commenced. On 24 October 2011 Covanta withdrew. The evaluation continued with the 2 remaining bidders and the Project Board approved the evaluation on 23 November 2011.

 

Veolia are proposing an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant at Newport but have yet to obtain Planning Permission or an Environmental Permit. They are proposing a heat off-take system and are developing a land deal with Tata Steel.

 

Viridor are proposing a ’Merchant’ EfW Facility in Cardiff.  The land deal is complete and there is already Planning Permission and an Environmental Permit in place.

 

Technical Evaluation

 

            The technical section is worth 55% of the evaluation scoring made up of 31 evaluation sub-criteria.  The two remaining bidders are offering similar technology and the PG team have developed a bar chart to compare and contrast both bids across the 31 criteria.

 

            Councillor Bright stated that Veolia are proposing a land deal that includes providing heat energy to Tata Steel at the Newport site. He advised that consideration should be given to the recent announcement by Tata that they will be reducing production and mothballing part of the plant, therefore there is no guarantee of the steelworks still being in production in 2016. He also expressed concern that by providing energy to Tata, in effect the Prosiect Gwyrdd contract could be seen as subsidising a commercial business.

 

            Mr Williams stated that the heads of terms will develop into a firm contract between Veolia and Tata that will give a secured tenancy and a period of guaranteed heat off-take. Part of the Project’s due diligence will ensure the viability of the Project for the duration of the Contract and will not be dependent on the commercial success or otherwise of a third party entity such as Tata. 

 

            Councillor Bright stated that steel will be transported to Newport and re-heated, which is not energy efficient.

 

            Mr Williams said that the Project’s primary interest is to provide a sustainable answer to waste management in the Partnership area. It is concerned with the high energy efficiency of the waste facility but could not become involved in how the heat and power is utilised by third party off-takers.

 

            Financial Evaluation

  

The financial section of the evaluation is worth 30% of the evaluation scoring and has 7 qualitative and quantitative sub-criteria. Price, in itself is not, therefore necessarily the deciding factor. There are two elements to the evaluation of Price and Affordability:

 

1.          Price – The lowest tendered price, after adjusting for direct costs borne by the Partnership such as transportation, will score maximum marks with the other bid also scoring, calculated on a straight-line linear basis provided it’s price is within 25% of the lowest price.

 

2.          Affordability - An upper affordability threshold (UAT) was devised and agreed by each partner authority, this allows each bid to be scored on how much it is below the threshold with bids more than 25% below the UAT scoring maximum marks.

 

Members enquired how the figures for the UAT were arrived at and Mr Williams informed the meeting that a model EfW plant was devised as part of the Outline Business Case (OBC) that was approved by all Partner Councils back in 2009. A ‘shadow tariff model’ was put together with certain capital and operational cost assumptions, in order to give a possible facility price over a 25 year period. Members asked if the model was independently verified. It was confirmed that technical and financial advisors developed and checked the model and it was also submitted to Welsh Government (WG) where it was further evaluated and subsequently approved with the announcement of long term WG grant funding for Prosiect Gwyrdd. Members requested a copy of the model.

 

[Post meeting note: further clarification with members revealed that it was the Evaluation Methodology that was required by Members.]

 

Action:  A copy of the Evaluation Methodology to be provided to JSP. [done]

 

Other Financial Criteria

 

Mr Williams advised the meeting of the other financial criteria of the evaluation, these are:

 

·         Payment profile

·         Sensitivity testing.

·         Financial robustness.

·         Deliverability of funding.

·         Acceptance of payment mechanisms.

 

Legal

 

The Legal section of the evaluation is worth 15% and there are 3 sub-criteria. This looks at the following:

 

·         Risk allocation and commercial terms.

·         Contractual structure.

·         Approach towards key project risks.

 

ISFT STAGE

 

Mr Williams advised Members that this stage will formally start with the approval by Joint Committee on 12 December 2011 and it will run until Autumn 2012.  The original timetable was extended to take into account the elections in May 2012 and the possibility of new Members who will require detailed briefing on the Project. This stage will see the selection of the Preferred Bidder and will involve the development of the project documentation up until close of dialogue and submissions of Final Tenders in May 2012.

 

ISFT Documentation

 

This will be set out as follows:

 

·         Sections 1,2 & 3 – important notices & general requirements.

·         Section 4 – preparation & submission requirements.

·         Section 5 – technical requirements.

·         Section 6 – financial requirements.

·         Section 7 – legal requirements.

·         Section 8 – evaluation methodology.

 

Technical Issues

 

Mr Williams advised that this involves the development of method statements setting out how they will deliver key aspects of the project. There will also be areas for dialogue around commissioning and testing, maximising recycling of outputs, firming up sub contracts, Combined Heat & Power (CHP) proposals and the planning progress.

 

Financial Issues

 

Mr Williams stated that this section will firm up financial and commercial issues. Areas for dialogue include R1 efficiency and compliance with WG funding, formal corporate funding approvals, financial impact of planning delay, commercial aspects of CHP deals etc.

 

Members enquired how the R1 mandatory requirement would be monitored. Mr Williams explained that the Environment Agency will determine if the successful bidder meets the standard (based on energy efficiency criteria) and also if, during the contract, it fails to maintain the R1 standard.

 

Members asked if PG partners would receive the lowest gate fee and sought confirmation that no other customer would receive a lower price. Mr Williams stated that no other local authority would be able to have a long-term contract with a lower price, however the successful bidder could offer spot contracts with lower costs to other customers.

 

Members expressed concern that the developing gate fee pricing structure does not guarantee partner authorities the mostfavourablecontract rates when partner authorities are expected to agree a minimum guaranteed payment and a long term contract.  Members said that they expected partner authorities to be given the most competitive gate fee price that can be achieved. 

 

Members asked if partners would have a share of the profits from extra tonnage brought by other organisations. Mr Williams confirmed that PG partners could get a share if the minimum income guarantee is exceeded. For example, should the wholesale price of electricity increase, partners will share the benefit.  He also explained that prices charged to commercial and industrial customers could fluctuate according to demand.

 

Members were concerned that the running costs of the plant would be covered by PG partners, thereby allowing the successful bidder to cover its marginal costs with lower charges to other customers.

 

Mr Falconer stated that there is a pro-rata element to the contract, which means that partners only pay proportionate fixed overhead costs.

 

Action: Members asked if the JSP could have scenarios where spot market deals could be offered presented to a future meeting. 

 

Members asked what would happen where the successful bidder becomes insolvent. Mr Williams stated that there are contractual protections in the contract that cover that scenario.

 

Members asked where the compensation would come from. Mr Williams stated that both bidders had signed up to a parent company guarantee and triggers are set in place to call on securities and bonds if there are concerns about the financial position of the parent company. 

 

Legal Issues

 

Mr Williams stated variations of project agreements will be negotiated and require WG approval. It should be noted that WG would carry out a Health Check before the Project can formally close dialogue. Areas for dialogue include, change in law provisions, compensation on termination, sub-contracts & contractual structure and planning delays.

 

Members asked if it was possible for the successful bidder to sub-contract to the other bidder should they fail to get planning permission. Mr Williams stated that this was not possible. However, there may be conceivable scenarios whereby if the successful bidder failed to obtain planning permission there could be the option to go to the reserve bidder.

 

Members asked if possible re-organisation of Councils boundaries has been considered. Mr Williams stated that they could execute an Authority Change.

 

Evaluation

 

Mr Williams stated that the evaluation criteria of this final stage would place less weighting on technical and service delivery and more on financial and commercial issues.

 

Other Key Changes

 

Mr Williams stated that the other key changes are:

 

·         Contract Waste Flow.

·         Bottom & Fly Ash Recycling.

 

Members asked for information on the composition of the waste stream. Mr Williamson stated that the waste has been analysed for 2009. Members asked for a copy of the waste flow model at the next meeting including the calorific value.

 

Action: Report on waste flow model for 5 partners including calorific values.

 

Communications

 

Mr Williams stated that the press pack and Q & A will be sent out on 13 December 2011 and public events are planned from the 7 January until 5 February 2012.

 

Timeline

 

Mr Williams outlined the timeline for the next stage, as follows:

 

·         ISFT issued & debrief 15 December 2011.

·         Draft final tenders 19 March 2012.

·         WG health check by 1 April 2012.

·         Close dialogue and final tenders 4 May 2012.

·         Members briefings & seminars May - Sept 2012.

·         Preferred bidder decisions by end Autumn 2012.

·         Contract award December 2012.

 

Members agreed to bring to the attention of the Joint Committee the points raised during the meeting.

 

Action: A letter to be drafted and signed by Chair.

 

 

7.         NEXT MEETING

 

            Mr Jones advised that because of the additional information requests an additional meeting would be required. There has been a good response to the call for evidence so far which will close in the first week of January 2012. Site visits are also to be arranged for the third/fourth week of January to Slough and New Haven to EfW plants.

 

Meeting Closed at 16:05PM

 

- - - - - - - -

 

During consideration of the minutes the Chairman advised Members of the impending evidence gathering sessions that were taking place by the Prosiect Gwyrdd Joint Scrutiny Panel on Wednesday, 14th and Friday, 16th March, following which it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the Prosiect Gwyrdd Joint Scrutiny Panel be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members on progress to date.

 

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