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Agenda Item No. 8

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Corporate Resources] 25 June 2013

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Sustainable Development Progress Report

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide an update on progress in co-ordinating sustainable development in the Council.

Recommendations

1.             That Members note the actions taken across the Council to promote sustainable development.

2.             That Members consider the draft Sustainable Development (SD) Action Plan 2013/14 and recommend further actions to promote sustainable development.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure that Members are aware of progress with sustainable development across the Council.

2.             The Sustainable Development Working Group is able to proceed in delivering the Sustainable Development Action Plan for 2013/14 and actions continue to be taken forward to progress sustainable development.

Background

2.             The Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) is the lead scrutiny committee for sustainable development.  At a meeting of the Committee on the 7th November 2006 the Committee requested regular progress reports on sustainable development.  This report provides an update on work being undertaken across the Council to progress sustainable development since the previous report in April 2012.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             Sustainability is managed within the Council's Performance Management Framework.  It is mainstreamed within the Corporate Plan and the service planning process, with performance targets set to measure performance which is monitored quarterly by scrutiny committees. 

4.             The membership of the Sustainable Development Working Group has been revised following changes in Council structures. The role of the group is to develop mechanisms and oversee projects to embed sustainable development as the Council’s central organising principle. Terms of reference have been amended to reflect a new focus for the group and a new action plan drafted (Appendix A). The group reports to Corporate Management Team.

5.             The new Sustainable Development Action Plan provides a strategic framework for the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) to ensure sustainability is embedded in activities across the Council and will focus on proposed sustainability legislation, climate change, Green Dragon, carbon management and the review of the Council's Staff Travel Plan.

6.             The recent White Paper from Welsh Government on proposals for a Sustainable Development Bill places sustainable development at the heart of decision making. The Council will need to ensure that sustainable development is our central organising principle and this will be the subject of scrutiny by the Wales Audit Office.  The Council has responded positively to the consultation but has expressed some reservations about how the legislation may be implemented and compliance monitored.  The SDWG will take the lead in ensuring the Council complies with legislation and that sustainable development is promoted across the Council.

7.             In 2012/13 the Council continued to ensure that sustainability considerations were at the forefront of a range of activities. Recent developments to promote sustainable development are detailed below and more information is provided in Appendix B.

8.             The Corporate Plan 2013-17 includes a range of commitments which will promote sustainable development including; increasing the number of apprenticeships, establishing a youth council, reintroducing a mobile library service, promoting modal shift, implementing a Tree Management Strategy, private sector housing renewal, supporting community facilities and promoting community safety.

9.             The aim of the Space Project is to maximise the use of the Council's property resources and this was identified as one of the Council's improvement objectives for 2012/13. The project should also lead to a reduction in carbon emissions and the project team are taking account of sustainability impacts as they develop options for the use of the Council's property assets. 

10.        There is a considerable amount of activity across the Council to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.  The membership of the Carbon Management Group has recently been reviewed to ensure there is membership across all directorates.  The group will report to the SDWG and take a lead in identifying projects to reduce carbon emissions. 

11.        There has been a reduction of 11.05% in building related carbon emissions for 2012/13 compared to 2011/12.  The rate of improvement is in the main due to the transfer of Leisure Facilities and Dyffryn Gardens part way through 2012 /13.  With improved data collection and through implementing more energy efficient projects the target is to continue this improvement. 

12.        The Council is continuing to deliver its commitments within the Carbon Management Plan.  The Salix finance arrangement has been used to deliver a number of improvements since it was agreed in June 2009 and to date the Council has spent £576,000 with a further £92,000 of projects agreed and awaiting installation and a further £40,000 worth of projects considered viable and awaiting agreement from budget holders.  The projects installed or awaiting installation are predicted to save the Council £226,000 per year in fuel costs and reduce emissions by 1,500 tonnes per annum.  The lifetime savings (which take into account the persistence factors of each particular technology) for Salix match funded measures is predicted to be £5 million and 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

13.        To date 78 energy efficiency improvement installations have been installed. This includes 36 insulation installations, building lighting improvements, street lighting improvements, voltage optimization, pool cover installation and power switch timers. Major projects being taken forward include LED lighting upgrades and lighting control improvements.

14.        The Council has invested in new technologies with a view to reducing its street lighting energy consumption. To date, 534 lower wattage LED lanterns have been installed, 325 lower wattage white light lanterns have been installed, 1,439 street lights have been dimmed between the hours of midnight and 6.00am and a further 1000 street lights have been dimmed between 10pm and 6am. During the past three years annual cost savings of approximately £46,445 (based on current energy prices) have been achieved via various energy reduction initiatives that also includes converting all belisha beacons to LED, the use of solar powered bollards and converting a significant number of illuminated road signs to LED.  This has resulted in a total carbon saving of 234 metric tonnes per annum. With regard to 2013 /14 financial year, there are programmes in place to install more LED lighting and the dimming of a further 1,000 streetlights between 10pm and 6 am.

15.        All services have continued to work to maintain an appropriate level of the Green Dragon Environmental Standard.   Services have continued to work in the same groupings as previously to ensure a level of continuity for this year. Social Services have taken a Directorate wide approach and maintained level 2.   Visible Services and Planning and Transportation have maintained level 5. Human Resources has continued to work with the Learning and Development Directorate to maintain level 2 and services based in the Civic Offices together with Housing and Building Services have maintained level 3.  In 2013/14 arrangements will be reviewed to reflect changes in structures and location of services.

16.        Work has begun to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Report.  A workshop was held with colleagues from Bridgend County Borough Council and risk assessments have been undertaken across all directorates to identify the impacts of climate change on services. These assessments are being used to inform the development of the adaptation report.

17.        Local Service Board partners have worked together to identify opportunities for co-location, asset management and reducing energy use against an agreed target of 3% per annum. The Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cardiff and Vale UHB, Cardiff and Vale College, South Wales Fire Service and South Wales Police have calculated that in 2011/12 they produced a combined total of 24, 898 tonnes of carbon emissions from their buildings in the Vale. This will provide the baseline for monitoring our combined performance each year also taking account of changes in floor space and how services are provided.   Figures for 12/13 will be available in July.

18.        One of the ten priority outcomes in the Community Strategy 2011-21 is 'Vale residents and organisations respect the local environment and work together to meet the challenge of climate change'.  Progress against this priority outcome is being monitored and includes activities on energy reduction and awareness raising.

19.        The Council is a signatory of the Welsh Government Sustainable Development Charter and each year has to set a challenge.  Our current challenge is to reduce our carbon emissions.  The Council will also feature as a best practice case study to support the forthcoming Sustainable Development Bill.

20.        Work has continued to provide information and raise awareness of sustainability issues through press releases, core brief and staffnet.  This has included an energy quiz, tips for being sustainable at Christmas and information about recycling as well as promoting Earth Hour and Green Office week.  A network of energy champions has been developed in the Civic Offices to encourage people to recycle and reduce energy use.

21.        All services contribute to the promotion of sustainable development.  A wide range of outcomes have been achieved in 2012/13 and these are detailed in Appendix B.  The new service plans for 2013/14 also include a strong commitment to promoting sustainable development and Appendix C details a small selection of some of the actions that will be undertaken in 2013/14.  These reflect the commitments in the Corporate Plan and will help ensure that the Council is:

·               Ensuring a strong, healthy and just society

·               Achieving a sustainable economy

·               Living within environmental limits

·               Promoting good governance

22.        The draft improvement objectives for 2013/14 will also contribute to promoting sustainable development and recognise the need to promote waste reduction, reduce landfill and increase recycling, improve citizen engagement and tackle the effects of climate change with a particular focus on local flood and coastal risk management.  Details of the improvement objectives are also included in Appendix C.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

23.        Activities detailed within this report will be met within existing resources as detailed in relevant service plans.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

24.        The review of the  SDWG and SD Action Plan have been undertaken to ensure that arrangements are in place to support the promotion of sustainable development across the Council including reporting arrangements to Corporate Management Team and Members. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

25.        The Local Government Measure 2009 introduced continuous improvement as a statutory duty for local government in Wales.  The subsequent revised Wales Programme for Improvement guidance identifies sustainable development as a key driver for achieving continuous improvement.

26.        Welsh Government published a White Paper in December 2012, 'A Sustainable Wales, Better Choices for a Better Future' which has formed the basis of consultation on proposals for a Sustainable Development Bill.  The White Paper sets out proposals to enshrine sustainable development as the central organising principle of the wider public service in Wales.

Crime and Disorder Implications

27.        The wider definition of sustainability adopted by the Council includes ensuring a strong, healthy and just society which is linked to community safety issues.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

28.        The wider definition of sustainability adopted by the Council includes social justice, and will require a greater focus on equality and fairness.

Corporate/Service Objectives

29.        Sustainable development has links to all corporate priorities and activities included in service plans for 2013/14 reflect commitments in the Corporate Plan 2013/17.

Policy Framework and Budget

30.        This is a matter for executive decision

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

31.        Not Applicable

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

32.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Welsh Government White Paper: A Sustainable Wales, Better Choices for a Better Future December 2012

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac (Head of Performance and Development) - 01446 709760

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Beverly Noon (Operational Manager - Corporate Policy and Communications)

David Powell (Energy Manager)

Carys Lord (Head of Business Management and Innovation)

Paula Ham (Head of Strategic Planning and Performance)

Mike Ingram (Operational Manager Public Housing Services)

Emma Reed (Operational manager - Development Services)

Jane Wade (Operational Manager - Property)

Jodi Winter (Operational Manager - Legal Services)

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies - Managing Director