Agenda and minutes

Environment, Highways and Waste Cabinet Committee - Thursday, 10th January, 2013 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Karen Mannering  01622 694367


No. Item


Minutes of the meeting on 15 November 2012 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

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RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2012 are correctly recorded and that they be signed by the Chairman.


KCC representations on the submission version of the Gravesham Local Plan Core Strategy (Regulation 19) - Decision No.12/01967 pdf icon PDF 4 MB

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(Mr L Christie, Local Member, was in attendance for this item and took part in the debate)


(1)       Gravesham Borough Council was inviting representations on the proposed submission version of their local plan Core Strategy. The consultation ended on 12 February 2013, and the Core Strategy would then be submitted to the Secretary of State in May 2013.  An Examination in Public was expected in August 2013 and adoption of the plan in December 2013.  The report proposed representations by KCC.  The Borough Council proposed that a minimum of 4,600 jobs and homes would be provided, concentrated on previously developed land along the Thames Riverside, at Gravesend Town Centre and at Ebbsfleet.  The Green Belt, Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the historic environment and biodiversity in the Borough would be safeguarded and maintained.


(2)     Prior to debate Mr Crick referred to the statement in the report that Local KCC Members had been asked for their views on KCC’s response to the consultation.  Mr Crick apologised for the error, and stated that such consultation had not taken place.  He assured Members that there was nothing to prevent the Cabinet Committee from discussing the report at today’s meeting and making recommendations to the Cabinet Member; but that the views of all relevant local Members would be sought and included in the papers that came before the Cabinet Member before he made his decision on the matter.


(3)     The decisions to be taken by the Borough Council may have long term financial implications for KCC as the provider of infrastructure and services to support development.  The proposed response by KCC to the consultation supported the County Council’s ambition to grow the economy, and the relevant priorities of Bold Steps for Kent.


(4)       In January 2010, Gravesham Borough Council (GBC) consulted on their Core Strategy and Development Management Policies which set out how the Borough should develop to 2026.  However, the Localism and Decentralisation Bill was then published, which would enable the South East Plan to be revoked.  The economy and the housing market had slowed, and new studies were undertaken by the Borough Council, including the viability of their major development sites.  In October 2011 the Borough Council proposed a revised approach in the Gravesham Growth Scenarios and Core Strategy consultation. Views were invited on development options for Gravesham to 2031, and on amendments to the policies published in 2010. 


(5)       The report summarised:- (a) KCC’s main views on the draft Core Strategy and Growth Scenarios in October 2011; and (b) KCC Representations on the Proposed Submission Core Strategy - Scale and Distribution of Development; Housing Target;  Strategic Housing Sites – Land West of Wrotham Road; Affordable housing and Gypsies and Travellers; Employment land; Retail; Infrastructure Provision - Education Learning and Skills, Families and Social Care, Customers and Communities; Transport;  Minerals and Waste - Red Lion Wharf; and Environment.


(6)       Mr Christie readily accepted the apology from Mr Crick and stated that, for the information of Members, he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


KCC-Managed Traveller Pitch Fees 2013/14 - Decision No: 12/02029 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

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(1)       Pitch Fees for Traveller sites managed by KCC were regulated by the Mobile Homes Act 1983. This only permitted  an increase once in every twelve months, and only allowed an increase by the Retail Price Index (RPI) at maximum, unless evidence of improvements to the amenity of the pitch could be shown.  Under the Mobile Homes Act, site operators must provide a proposed pitch fee increase to each pitch occupier at least 28 days in advance of the increase taking effect. Any pitch occupier could object to the proposed increase, if they had reason to do so.

(2)    The recommendations would increase the maximum recoverable income from all sites by just over 2.6%, because of the additional increase on the Polhill site, during 2013/14.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Polhill Site


(3)       Works had been carried out on the Polhill site during 2011 & 2012 which considerably enhanced mainly the amenity blocks but also the pitches. The works had cost around £14,000. In recognition of that, the proposed pitch fee for each pitch was 2.6% RPI for the ordinary increase plus £2 per week for the improved amenity of the pitches.


Coldharbour Site


(4)       The proposed pitch fee for the new Coldharbour site was set by the Committee in September 2012. It was £65, to take effect from 1 April 2013, or when the new pitches were first occupied, whichever came first. Expected completion of the new pitches was currently around late June 2013.


(5)       The increases would enable the costs of managing and maintaining the sites to be more adequately covered by the income received, and a list of all the sites were set out in the report.


(6)       The KCC Gypsy and Traveller Unit also managed the two Maidstone Borough Council sites, at Stilebridge Lane, Marden and Water Lane, Ulcombe, under a management agreement. Maidstone Borough Council would inform KCC shortly of the rents they planned to charge for 2013/14.


(7)       RESOLVED that:-


(a)                     the Cabinet Member be recommended to approve the new proposed rents to be applied from 1 April 2013; and


(b)                     pitch occupiers be advised of the proposed increases with the required 28 days notice in advance of that date, in conformity with the Mobile Homes Act 1983.



Environment, Highways & Waste Forthcoming Executive Decisions - current entry pdf icon PDF 110 KB

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RESOLVED that the current entry in the Forthcoming Executive Decisions for Environment, Highways and Waste be noted.


2013/14 Revenue Budget Consultation Responses pdf icon PDF 66 KB

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 (1)      Due to the late announcement of the Local Government Finance arrangements for 2013/14 the final draft budget was not available in time to include in the report.  The consultation closed on 1 November and a full report was presented to Cabinet on 3 December.


(2)       There were a number of issues affecting the Environment Highways and Waste portfolio and consultation findings were set out in the report.


(3)       RESOLVED that the report be noted.       



Enterprise and Environment Directorate (Environment, Highways & Waste Portfolio) Financial Monitoring 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 249 KB

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(1)       Members were asked to note the second quarter’s full budget monitoring report for 2012/13 reported to Cabinet on 3 December 2012.  There were no exceptional revenue changes since the writing of the quarter 2 report.


(2)       RESOLVED that the revenue and capital forecast variances from budget for 2012/13 for the Enterprise & Environment Directorate (Environment, Highways & Waste Portfolio, based on the second quarter’s full monitoring to Cabinet, be noted.



Business Planning 2013/14 - Substantive Draft Plans pdf icon PDF 111 KB

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(1)        Following the development of the business planning headline priorities in November 2012, Directors and Heads of Service had built on the feedback received from the Cabinet Committee to develop substantive draft business plans for 2013/14.  The emphasis had been on reducing the burden of business planning with a lighter touch process.  It was important to increase the consistency and synergy between business planning and both the performance management dashboards and directorate and divisional risk registers which underpin the business plan actions, which were reported to the Committee on a regular basis.


(2)       The emphasis for the 2013/14 draft business plans was identifying clear, tangible actions, ensuring that all activity was Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound (SMART). Actions were underpinned by milestones to check activity progress and further complemented by meaningful Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Activity Indicators that enabled the organisation to monitor and manage performance, to demonstrate progress against the delivery of Bold Steps for Kent. High level risks relating to the delivery of the actions were set out in the business plan, supported by detailed Divisional and Directorate Risk Registers.


(3)                The draft plans were still at an early stage of development, with further refinement over the coming months before approval in March 2013. The Policy and Strategic Relationships team had been supporting Directors and Directorate Management Teams (DMT) to develop their draft plans as part of ongoing, informal Quality Assurance process, to help embed the revised business planning process.


(4)                RESOLVED that the Directorate Risk Register set out in Appendix A to the report, and the substantive draft business plans set out in Appendix B to the report, be noted.



Cabinet Member's and Corporate Director's Update (Oral report)

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(1)          Mr Sweetland and Mr Austerberry gave verbal reports on the following issues:-


Planning & Environment – Aviation; Rail; HGV’s; Planning Applications; and Local Plans in Kent


Highways & Transportation – Winter Service; Kent Lane Rental Scheme (KLRS) Update; Member Highway Fund; and Road Safety Award


Waste Management – Household Waste Recycling Centre Policy Changes; and Capital Projects


(2)     RESOLVED that the updates be noted and copies circulated to Members of the Committee.



KCC Drainage Adoption pdf icon PDF 93 KB

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(1)               Implementation of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 required that KCC became the approving body (known as the ‘SAB’) for sustainable drainage. Defra had yet to announce the commencement date of the new duty.  The interim period prior to commencement had extended from the Government’s original proposal of October 2012 to an as yet undefined date, which was causing uncertainty for the development industry and failing to deal with drainage needs as identified in the Pitt Review. KCC had an opportunity to take the initiative to provide greater certainty for the development industry by adjusting what drainage infrastructure it currently adopted within current powers and, as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) with the highest risk of surface water flooding, to be seen as an exemplar, taking the lead in flooding solutions and reducing flood risk.  KCC had already engaged with developers on specific projects to assess the adoption proposal, and engagement with that sector would continue as the revised regime was taken forward.  The report outlined the changes to KCC’s adoption regime.


(2)       Under the new regime, drainage adoption would only be available when it was associated with a highway adoption and the proposed system was within the adopted highway boundary.  Any adoption of SuDS was to be determined through consultation and agreement between the developer and KCC and would be voluntary for both parties.  The financial burden on KCC of administering this and adopting additional drainage would be covered by applying approval fees and commuted sums.   The revised regime would not place any additional burdens on the developer, who would not incur further costs above the current practice.


(3)               KCC would be required to undertake adoption of SuDS schemes under the Act at an undetermined date in the future.  Within current powers some of the uncertainty currently faced by developers could be addressed; expertise in preparation for the new regulation could be developed; and responsibilities as the LLFA with the highest flood risk could also be addressed


(4)               The revised adoption regime posed little risk to KCC, as discussed in the report, and provided an opportunity to lead the way in promoting sustainable drainage solutions and supporting developers in Kent.  In the absence of a directive from central government to commence SAB duties, and the likelihood it could be another 18 months until received KCC should take the initiative and put in place the revised adoption regime.   


(5)       RESOLVED that:-

(a)       KCC take the initiative forward, including further engagement with developers; and

(b)       the position be reviewed after an appropriate period of time (two years) or following any announcement or decision by Defra about the implementation of the SAB.


Joint Transportation Boards Agreement and Governance pdf icon PDF 62 KB

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(1)       Further to Minute 63 of 15 November 2012, the report sought authority to    up-date the current JTB agreement and to provide flexibility for a JTB Chairman to vary the number of Parish representatives.  There was no proposal to give voting rights to the Kent Association of Local Councils.  Members were invited to give their views on the revised draft JTB Agreement attached as Appendix 1 to the report.


(2)     As well as up-dating the terminology of the Agreement to reflect up to date governance, it encapsulated the request from some JTBs to allow additional Parish Council representatives to attend the JTB. Rather than drawing up separate Agreements for each District Council area, it was considered better to have one Agreement that provided the Chairman with some flexibility on the point.  The Agreement also covered and further clarified referrals from JTBs which would be considered by the Cabinet Member for Environment Highways and Waste.


(3)     The outcome of discussion would be considered by the County Council’s Cabinet. Once agreed with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the JTB, it would be individually ratified by each District Council through its own agreed constitution. A report would then be provided for each JTB confirming the revision to the Agreement and clarifying the Parish representation issue with the formal outcome. It was anticipated that each District Council would enter into a revised Agreement with the County Council to reflect the changes approved.


(4)     RESOLVED that:-

          (a) the revised draft JTB agreement be agreed;

(b) the JTB chairmen be delegated authority to vary the number of Parish representatives attending a JTB meeting; and

(c) Members views be reported to the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste for his consideration and decision before being reported back to JTBs.






Technical & Environmental Services Contract (TESC) Update - Decision No.12/01935 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

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(1)       Further to Minute 54 of 15 November 2012, the report updated Members on the TESC procurement process.  Based on the results across the areas of Quality, Price and Presentation, Amey was the strongest Tenderer and was now the “Preferred Bidder” for the TESC.  Amey, throughout the process, had demonstrated their appetite and ability for the contract. They had committed to work with the Council to evolve the Contract and the personnel in the proposed management team were well received and had committed to be ring fenced to the TESC for at least the first 18 months. 


(2)       A robust and focussed procurement process had led to Amey being the TESC “preferred bidder” and subject to the “next steps”, set out in the report,  would be awarded the contract and commence mobilisation in early 2013. 


(3)     RESOLVED that thereport which outlined the process to allow the Cabinet Member to award the TESC contract to Amey as the preferred bidder, be noted.



Environmental Management Update pdf icon PDF 58 KB

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(1)               Further to Minute 30 of 4 July 2012, the partnership targets for the Kent Environment Strategy and Climate Local agreement were agreed by the Kent Forum, including the expectation that to demonstrate leadership, KCC would develop its own bold targets focusing on buildings, street lighting and transport.

(2)               Existing Corporate Environment targets were:-

·                    reduce energy use within the estate to meet the carbon reduction target of 2.6% per year up to 2015

·                    reduce business miles travelled by car to meet the carbon reduction target of 2.6% per year up to 2015

·                    reduce water use within the estate by 10% by 2015

·                    reduce waste generation across the estate by 5%, and increase the proportion of corporate waste which was reused or recycled to 60% by 2015

The additional targets recommended for KCC were detailed in Appendix 1 to the report, and would help demonstrate how the council was leading by example on both the Kent Environment Strategy and Climate Local agreement.


(3)               Progress against current corporate environment targets was set out in Appendix 2 to the report. Overall, it had been positive, but focus needed to be maintained on the variety of actions and positive contributions which all staff and members could make towards achievement of the targets.


(4)       RESOLVED that:-


(a)       additions to existing targets be endorsed; and


(b)       progress and issues relating to existing corporate targets, be noted.



Highway Soft Landscaping - review of standards pdf icon PDF 68 KB

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(1)               The report provided detail of the progress of work completed and set out the challenges encountered by the soft landscape service from the combined effects of the very wet summer and the budget reduction.  It also proposed operational frequency changes for the future.  As part of KCC’s requirement to save some £340m over three years the budget for Soft Landscaping was reduced from £4.6m to £3.2m in 2011/12 (a reduction of 1.4m).  The Soft Landscaping asset consisted of 4 million square metres (m2) of urban grass, 470,000 m2 of shrubs, 65,000 m2 of hedges, 4900km of roads with a rural swathe cut, 4,200km of roads and pavements for weed treatment and 500,000 trees.


(2)       The service reduction was partially mitigated by the dry conditions of the summer of 2011 that restricted vegetation growth.  The spring/summer of 2012 was the wettest on record; which meant certain scheduled cuts could not be completed on time and had to be reprogrammed. Overall, the reduction in service levels since April 2011 combined with the weather conditions resulted in a significant increase in the number of complaints including a surge in Member concerns.  The County Council responded by undertaking manual weed clearance following weed spray in the May/June, a second weed spray and extra shrub cutting to deal with highway safety issues.


(3)               In April 2005 the Council in-sourced the highway functions from district councils functions with the exception of soft landscaping maintenance. In the intervening years, a number of district councils had handed back the service. A procurement exercise was being undertaken to rationalise the service delivery process to improve customer experience and to achieve better value for money, and new contracts would be in place on 1 April 2013. 


(4)          A review of the management of the Soft Landscaping Group found that the Service would benefit from in-sourcing the management function and day to day running of the Group, currently provided by Jacobs. The in-sourcing would be completed by end of March 2013.


(5)       The report discussed weed spraying, shrub bed/hedge maintenance, swathe cutting of selected roads and removal of tree stumps at the same time as felling.  It was proposed that the annual eight urban grass cutting was maintained.



(6)        The reduced service standards arising from the funding cut of £1.4m from 2011/12 to 2012/13 were contributing to a cumulative decline of landscaped areas and aesthetic appearance of the urban environment as well as an increase in reactive costs. Additional funding would be required to increase the level of maintenance, and would necessitate a reduction of service in other areas to fund any additional planned works.


(7)       RESOLVED that the report be noted.



Water Resources Planning pdf icon PDF 100 KB

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(1)     The report set out KCC’s work regarding water resources management. It explained the outcomes of the Kent Water Summit held in June 2012, the development of the Kent Water Resilience Framework and processes through which KCC was able to influence the local water companies. The purpose of the report was to bring the work to the attention of the Committee and to seek support for its future direction.


(2)     During 2012, KCC had been leading two initiatives concerned with improved water management – the Kent Water Summit and the Kent Water Resilience Framework. Both initiatives had produced important outputs and there were now opportunities over the coming months to ensure that they were impressed upon the Kent water companies as they prepared their long term plans for managing water resources.


(a)          The Kent Water Summit


KCC held a water summit on 26 June 2012 which attracted over 90 representatives from a wide range of organisations.  Discussion was synthesised into the following recommendations:

  • More rapid introduction of domestic water metering to conserve water.
  • Greater understanding of the true value of water through a public awareness campaign.
  • Wastewater reuse to be considered more seriously as a potential solution to improving water supplies.
  • Increased efficiency in both domestic and agricultural water use.
  • Further expansion of facilities for on-farm water storage.
  • Greater leadership and enhanced co-operation to deliver technological innovation in water conservation.
  • A drive to cut out all forms of water wastage.

Good progress had been made in following up the recommendations but several also needed to be promoted through KCC’s influence in the water industry planning process.


(b)          The Kent Water Resilience Framework (WRF)


The WRF was an activity within the Kent Environment Strategy (KES) and contributed to delivery of Action CC 6.1 ‘To develop and deliver risk-based action plans for the top ‘climate risk’ priorities in Kent’. It was being developed in partnership with the Environment Agency.

The WRF would need to be reviewed at intervals to ensure that it continued to use the best available data and focus on the correct issues and locations.


(c)          The water industry planning process


Water companies produced new Water Resources Management Plans (WRMPs) every 5 years. Each WRMP covered a 25 year time period on a rolling basis.


The companies would all produce their draft WRMPs in late April / early May 2013 and would be followed by a formal consultation period after which each company would produce its Statement of Response, make any revisions and publish the final plan in early 2014.



(d)          The proposed focus for KCC influence


Drawing on the recommendations from the Kent Water Summit and the findings from the Kent Water Resilience Framework, there were three key areas of work that it was suggested KCC should now be emphasising with all the local water companies:


·demand management;

·wastewater re-use; and

·catchment management.



(3)     RESOLVED that:-

(a)          the programmes of work described in the report and the resulting recommendations and findings, be noted; and


(b)          the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Ash Dieback (Chalara Fraxinea) Outbreak Response pdf icon PDF 166 KB

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(1)       The report briefed Members on the Ash Dieback (Chalarafraxinea) outbreak in Kent and the significant risk the disease presented, and the ongoing response to manage the situation.  Ash Dieback (Chalarafraxinea) was the infective phase of the cup-fungus Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus, which was named as new-to-science in 2010.  The life-cycle of the organism appeared to be that Chalara fraxinea, living on Ash leaves and shoots, developed into Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus when the leaves fell. Individual cup-fungus then produced approximately 1,500 airborne spores an hour over a period of around 2 weeks, which drifted up into the canopy, where they might alight on Ash shoots and initiate new infection. The Chalara phase was also understood to produce a less mobile form of spore, which might further infect the host and nearby trees. Once initiated, infection spread along the Ash twig and under certain circumstances, which were not fully understood, into branches and the trunk of the tree. The destructive characteristic of the fungus derived from the fact that the Chalara phase produced a fungal poison, called viridiol, which was toxic to Ash. Saplings and coppice re-growth were particularly vulnerable to Chalara attack, while stricken larger trees exhibited a heightened risk from secondary infection and environmental stress.

(2)       Since the announcement of confirmed cases in the UK in October, the outbreak had been reported widely by national and local media with much speculation as to the fate of Ash trees, suggesting that up to 95% of UK Ash trees could be affected.  A key consideration for KCC was that Ash formed a significant component of the soft estate. Therefore, the health and safety considerations attached to ensuring effective monitoring and timely arboriculture interventions, to make safe dead or ailing trees, could be significant.  A further key role for KCC would involve Trading Standards, working alongside the arboriculture industry, putting safeguards in place to ensure that “rogue traders” did not seek to profit from the outbreak.

(3)       The report was tabled at the Cabinet Committee following discussion of potential environmental and financial impacts arising from the Chalara outbreak at Corporate Management Team and its proposed inclusion within the KCC Corporate Risk Register.  Since the first cases were confirmed in Kent, KCC Emergency Planning had provided a direct link between the national response and a range of local partners, to ensure a consistent approach and single source of information.  Emergency Planning had also printed and distributed Forestry Commission Chalara public information notices to relevant KCC teams and a range of partners for installation at public open spaces across Kent. In addition, stocks had been supplied to parish clerks for display on notice boards.

(4)       Much of the activity would be informed by the Interim Chalara Control Plan issued on 6 December.  However, the scale of the problem in Kent, the influence of specific local factors and the acknowledged pioneering position in dealing with the outbreak dictated that an effective local response was sustained.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Discussion: Growth without Gridlock 2 years on pdf icon PDF 60 KB

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(1)     Mr Crick gave a presentation to Members which looked at the achievements and progress to date of Growth without Gridlock, KCC’s 20 year transport delivery plan, since its launch in December 2010.


(2)     Growth without Gridlock formed the basis of Bold Steps for Transport in the Council’s Medium Term Financial plan ‘Bold Steps for Kent’. It was integral to delivering the objectives of helping the Kent economy to grow and tackling disadvantage. Therefore an update report with achievements and progress to date together with a delivery plan for the next four to five years would have a direct impact on achieving the objectives of Bold Steps for Kent. The proposed document was aligned to the Council’s Local Transport Plan.


(3)     Members were asked to provide comments on what had been achieved over the last 2 years and looking to the future on Kent County Council’s priorities for implementation over the next four to five years.  It was anticipated that it would form the basis of an updated Growth without Gridlock document for consultation later in 2013.  The consultation document would be placed on the Council’s website and taken to each JTB and other key stakeholders seeking input.  It was anticipated Growth without Gridlock 2 years on would be finalised during the summer.


(4)          RESOLVED that the update be noted.


Mr Crick was thanked for an informative presentation