Christine Wissink (Interim Head of Sustainable Business & Communities) and Stephanie Holt-Castle (Interim Director for Environment, Planning and Enforcement) were in attendance for this item.
1. Miss Carey introduced the report which set out the final draft of the Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy (ELES) and thanked officers and members for their input. Mrs Cooper (Corporate Director for Growth, Environment and Transport) said the strategy was practical, pragmatic, and ambitious and had the potential to reach across the wider agenda, including planning and economic recovery. The committee thanked Carolyn McKenzie and her team, which had been led by Katie Stewart and was now led by Stephanie Holt-Castle, for their work in bringing the strategy together.
2. Mrs Holt-Castle said the final version reflected the committee’s earlier comments and that the ten priority actions were outlined on page 43 of the agenda pack. The strategy would be approved by the Cabinet Member for Environment, the Kent Leaders’ Group and Kent Chief Executives’ Group. A detailed implementation plan was being developed by officers and partners in discussion with the Cabinet Member for Environment, which would be agreed by the Kent and Medway Environment Group in the autumn. The implementation plan, and any associated projects, would be monitored and reported to the Kent and Medway Environment Group, the Kent Environment Board, the Kent Environment Strategy Cross-Party Member Working Group and the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee.
3. The Cabinet Member and Mrs Holt-Castle responded to comments and questions as follows:
(a) Mrs Holt-Castle said that a priority , set out in the ELES, was to work with the wider public sector and this would be achieved though the Kent and Medway Environment Group which included representatives from local government and other sectors. Its membership continued to be defined and it was hoped to include representatives from the NHS and local clinical commissioning groups.
(b) Mrs Holt-Castle said that Kent’s progress in achieving the targets set out in the strategy would be compared with the performance in other areas via the net-zero target that all local authorities signed up to. Mrs Holt-Castle noted the request for comparative data and agreed to report the findings back to the cross-party member working group.
(c) Miss Carey said that KCC was committed to using its buying power to help deliver the environmental targets, but that it also had to be mindful of EU law. Mrs Holt-Castle said Vincent Godfrey (Strategic Commissioner) was a member of the Kent and Medway Environment Group and would be involved in identifying ways in which KCC could achieve the environmental targets in relation to procurement.
2. Members commended the Kent & Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy and paid tribute to all those involved.
3. It was RESOLVED that the proposed decision (20/00062) to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Environment, to:
(a) approve the strategy for adoption and implementation, working in partnership with all local authorities in Kent & Medway, utilising the existing Kent Environment Strategy delivery framework; and