Agenda and minutes

Environment and Community Safety Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 17th December, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE. View directions

Contact: Philip Slawther, Principal Committee Co-ordinator 

No. Item



Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 


By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.


The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.


The Chair referred Members present to agenda Item 1 as shown on the agenda in respect of filming at this meeting, and Members noted the information contained therein’.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Ogiehor. Apologies for lateness were received from Cllr Ahmet.


Items of Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business (late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with as noted below).   




Declarations of interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:


(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct


In relation to agenda item 9, Cllr Culverwell advised that he was the Deputy Chair of the Friends of Finsbury Park.



To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.


The Panel received a deputation from a group of local residents in relation to what action was being taken by the Council following the declaration of a climate emergency in March 2019. The deputation party was made up of Norman Beddington, Helen Mayer and Chris Barker. The deputation party raised concerns about a perceived lack of progress by Haringey Council on appropriate measures to meet the climate emergency. The deputation party highlighted a number of progressive initiatives which were underway; such as the Haringey Pension Fund’s divestment from fossil fuels, a new Local Planning Framework supporting the zero carbon borough aspiration and the planting of 740 new street trees.


The deputation party advised that they were aware that there was also an intention to present a stage 2 zero carbon action plan to Cabinet in February, but advised they were concerned about a lack of publicity for all of these schemes. The deputation party requested that procedures and processes be developed to strengthen the Haringey Climate Forum and that this forum be used as a key link to the voluntary and community sector. The Panel were asked to consider whether the Council was working across the organisation to develop a response and suggested  Haringey People could be better utilised to communicate with residents on what was being done in response to the climate emergency. The deputation party also raised concerns about the use of glyphosate in parks and green spaces and questioned whether other suitable alternatives had been trialled instead, given the potential harmful effects of the substance.


The following was noted in response to the deputation:

a.    The Chair acknowledged the need for the Panel to consider how the Council communicated with its residents and how the Council could improve this.

b.    In response to a question around the level of engagement to date with the Cabinet Member, the deputation party advised that they were thankful for the support and engagement of the Cabinet Member and advised that Cllr Hearn had come along to meetings of the Haringey Climate Action Group. Mr Beddington advised that they would like to see the group develop greater role and influence, becoming a key community engagement tool. The deputees advised that the response to the climate emergency needed to be community based and community led.

c.    In response to comments around the Council’s stated goal of becoming carbon neutral  by 2050, the Panel was advised that it was important that action was taken now and that year on year progress was made in response to this issue.

d.    In response to a question around what other groups had been engaged with, the deputation party advised that there were a number of different groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth and the Muswell Hill Sustainability Group. In response to a follow-up question, officers acknowledged that they had also been closely involved with Friends of Parks groups.

e.    The Panel queried what the alternatives to glyphosate were and sought their opinion about viable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 175 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting.




The minutes of the meeting on 5th November were agreed as a correct record.


Herbicide Usage on Council Land in Haringey pdf icon PDF 166 KB


The Panel received a short written briefing on the usage of herbicides on Council owned land in Haringey. The report was introduced by Simon Farrow, Highways, Parking, Parks & Open Spaces Manager as set out in the agenda pack at page 11. The following was noted in response to this item.


*Clerks note – Cllr Ahmet arrived at the meeting at this point.*


a.    In response to concerns, officers advised that herbicides including glyphosate were applied no more than four times a year and the Council was trying to adopt a balanced approach between herbicides and other forms of weed control. In response to a question, officers acknowledged that HfH paid extra for four applications a year, as appose to the three specified in the Veolia contract.

b.    The Panel requested a site visit to Tower Gardens in the spring, to see the pilot herbicide-free project taking place with the Friends of Tower Gardens. Action: (Clerk/Simon Farrow).

c.    In response to concerns about the side effects, officers advised that the glyphosate came in pre-mixed packs to ensure that the proper formula and a specific quantity was used. The chemical itself went inert on contact with plants and weeds and did not harm cats or dogs. Officers assured the Panel that they did all they could to prevent contamination, in line with best practice.

d.    In response to further concerns, officers set out that most gardeners had stronger chemicals in their sheds and that all products used where regulated and went through a licensing process.

e.    The Panel enquired whether officers had looked at increasing the frequency of applications to prevent the weeds from seeding. In response, officers acknowledged  the need to schedule applications to prevent them from seeding in the following year and advised that twice a year on shrub beds was most effective. Officers advised that they had not costed for additional spraying frequency or capacity.




That the briefing was noted.


Single Use Plastics pdf icon PDF 115 KB


The Panel received a report which provided an update on work being done to reduce the amount of plastic used as well as the development of a policy on single use plastics. The report was introduced by Emma Williamson, AD for Planning as set out in the agenda pack at page 13. The following was noted in discussion of the report:


  1. The Panel sought further information around specific and timed actions taking place, including information around proposals to remove plastic cups from Council offices – How and what would they be replaced with? What about the Civic Centre? (Action: Cllr Hearn/Joe Baker).
  2. The Panel supported the idea of the Council getting its own house in order and ensuring that it led by example.
  3. The Panel expressed surprise that single use plastics were still being used in Council offices and sought further information on the timescales for the phasing out as well as any data on how much single use plastics were used, in say River Park House. In response the Cabinet Member agreed to provide further information to the Panel on the amount of single use plastic. (Action: Cllr Hearn/Joe Baker).
  4. The Panel sought assurances about a perceived lack of progress on implementing a single use plastics policy, following its agreement at Cabinet in March. The Cabinet Member acknowledged these concerns and commented that she shared these frustrations.
  5. The Chair requested a further update on single use plastics at the next meeting. (Action: Clerk/Joe Baker).



That the Panel noted the contents of the update in relation to the development of a single use plastics policy.


Scrutiny of the 2020/21 Draft Budget / 5 Year Medium Term Financial Strategy (2020/21 - 2024/25) pdf icon PDF 439 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee received a cover report, along with a copy of the five-year draft General Fund Budget (2020-21)/Medium Term Financial Strategy (2020/21-2024/25) as considered by Cabinet on 10th December 2019. A copy of the 2020 budget saving proposals and new capital schemes, for Place were also attached to the cover report for the Panel’s consideration. The report and appendices were introduced by Frances Palopoli, Head of Corporate Financial Strategy & Monitoring and Stephen McDonnell Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods as set out in the agenda pack at pages 15 – 101. The Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability as well as the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods were also present.  The following was noted in discussion of the draft budget/MTFS and savings proposals:

a.    Officers advised that the budget had been developed with the aim of protecting frontline services and that the majority of the savings proposals put forward related to income generation.

b.    The Panel sought clarification from officers on how confident they were in achieving the savings proposed. In response, the Panel was advised that most of the savings had been assigned a RAG status of amber. The Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods advised that the service had achieved 95% of its savings from previous years.

c.    The Panel suggested that the parks budget had been cut too far, to quickly in the past as evidence by the recent issues around Green Flags and sought assurances around how confident officers were that they could continue to protect parks as a public utility, given the prevalence of concerts and some of the disruption and damage caused. In response, officers advised that they had been able to ring-fence additional funding for parks due to the increased revenue generated from major events.

d.    The Panel raised concerns about the proposed reduction of staff in the Veolia call centre and the impact on the perception of residents using the service. The Panel also set the need to consider how to engage with residents about any changes and the change in response times.

e.    The Panel suggested that in relation to increasing permit charges for the highest emitting vehicles,  this would have an undue impact on poorer residents. Furthermore, any further incentivisation of electric vehicles would only impact those who could afford them. In relation to a question on the spread of electric vehicles across the Borough, officers advised that they did not have this information. In the response the concerns raised about permit charges, officers highlighted that as although less affluent, the east of the Borough also had the greatest need from significantly poorer air quality.

f.     The Panel broadly welcomed the savings proposals in relation to selective licensing and CCTV enforcement of weight restrictions but questioned the feasibility of the income levels suggested, particularly in light of a perceived failure to adequately enforce against HGV traffic on Wightman Road, despite the presence of two CCTV cameras.

g.    The Panel questioned why the selective licensing scheme wasn’t being brought in sooner and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Update on Crouch End Liveable Streets

Verbal update


The Panel received a verbal update on Crouch End Liveable Neighbourhoods, following the publication of feedback responses to the initial trial period on the 13th December and a meeting with ward councillors on 16th December. The update was provided by Sam Neal, Streets and Spaces Consultant and Peter Watson, Major Schemes Project Manager.

a.    Officers advised the Panel that the results of the trial had been published online and they had also met with the stakeholder forum to go through the results and consider consultation proposals for the next stage.

b.    Throughout the course of the trial 4000 people had been engaged with. The Liveable Neighbourhoods Project Board had requested that officers go back and re-engage with these people on the aims and objectives of the scheme.

c.    Officers advised that there were also going to invite stakeholders back for another meeting in January to agree the content of the public questionnaire. The questionnaire would then be released for public responses over four weeks until early February. The purpose of the questionnaire was to get a better understanding of which direction to take and the public’s appetite for change.

d.    Once the responses to the questionnaire had been compiled and analysed, officers would develop further proposals for the next stage of the scheme and submit these to TfL for approval. A formal public consultation process would then begin in the summer.


The following was noted in discussion of this agenda item:

a.    The Panel sought clarification around which wards were represented at the ward councillor meeting. Officers advised that this involved the neighbouring boroughs of Muswell Hill, Stroud Green, Crouch End and Hornsey.  In response to a question around communications activity undertaken by the Cabinet Member, Cllr Hearn advised that as well as attending the stakeholder meetings, she had also responded to a large number of emails and had recorded a couple of video updates for the website.

b.    In response to a question about whether the Cabinet Member was happy with the trial, the Panel was advised that one of the main purposes of the trial was to iron out any concerns and understand the type of issues that would arise. In that context the Cabinet Member advised that she was happy with the trial and that officers had learnt a lot as a result, particularly in terms of traffic flow and peak traffic levels. The Cabinet Member advised that there was an overall reduction in traffic of around 9-10% and that if this could be replicated long term that would constitute a marked success. Officers added that one of the other main aims of the trial was around raising the profile of the scheme and that this had demonstrably been achieved. Officers set out that contact details for 4000 local residents would provide an invaluable basis for further consultation and engagement work.

c.    In response to a question around whether phase 2 was going ahead, the Cabinet Member advised that it was her intention to do  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Cabinet Member Q&A - Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability

Verbal Update


The Panel undertook a question and answer session with the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability on her portfolio area. The following arose from the discussion of this item:

a.    In response to a question around some of the key actions undertaken recently in response to the climate emergency, the Cabinet Member advised that her key focus had been around mapping out the zero carbon strategy which was due to be considered at the CAB environment sub-Committee in February.

b.    The Panel sought reassurance about what was being done in relation to maintaining sustainable funding for parks, particularly in terms of safety and maintenance, following the issues around Green Flags. In response, the Cabinet Member advised that officers were looking into how to ensure sustainable funding in parks in the future and also advised that events were helping to provide additional funding. The Cabinet Member advised that she was hopeful of maintaining revenue levels from major events from a fewer number of concerts in Finsbury Parks.

c.    In response to a question, the Cabinet Member acknowledged that work on developing a plastic free policy had not progressed as far as she had hoped but highlighted that there was work being undertaken at a community level, particularly involving the NLWA. Officers added that the focus had been around the priority change action plan but that a graduate trainee had been brought in to work on the plastic free policy. Officers acknowledged that an update would be brought to the  next meeting.

d.    In response to a request for timescales and deadlines for the plastic free policy, the AD Planning agreed to speak to colleagues and then email round details of the key dates for its implementation.  (Action: Emma Williamson).


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:




     I.        That the Panel noted its current work programme, attached at Appendix A of the report.

    II.        That the Panel agreed that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be asked to endorse the updated work plan at its next meeting.


New Items of Urgent Business

To consider any items admitted at item 3 above.





Dates of Future Meetings


5th March 2020