The Chair advised that he was going to take the Cabinet Member Q&A session before the Veolia performance update. *The minutes reflect the order in which the items were considered, rather than the order on the published agenda*.
The Panel received a verbal update from the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Chandwani on her portfolio area. The Cabinet Member thanked the Panel members for their support and their involvement with evidence gathering for the implementation of dedicated disabled bays and the Blue Badges report. It was noted that phase two of the project was to be developed. The Cabinet Member also gave a brief update around the Wall of Shame scheme to educate and deter would be fly-tippers. The Cabinet Member advised that the response to the scheme so far had been overwhelmingly positive, and there had been a good number of hits generated. In response to a question, the Panel were advised that there had been over 140 FPNs issued for flytipping in the quarter from July to September 2019. The Cabinet Member also provided an introduction on the implementation of the new Parking Management IT System and the service improvements that were expected as a result of the improvements in both front and back office parking services.
The following was noted in discussion of this agenda item:
a. The Chair sought clarification around the upcoming review of green waste charges, in response it was noted that the review would take place over the winter period once the busy autumn period had finished and that it would look at the level of charges as well any possible shortfall in the income target. The Panel was also advised that HfH were in the process of having a fresh rollout of their own bulky waste collection service on estates, with an accompanying communications campaign.
b. In response to concerns around the flow of traffic and parking availability arising from the liveable streets project in Crouch End, the Cabinet Member advised that this area was the responsibility of Cllr Hearn. It was also noted that this was a rapidly developing policy area and that there was a lot of learning to be done across London.
c. In response to the new flytipping campaign, the Cabinet Member set out that overall a much tougher approach had been adopted with the communication messages and through adopting the Wall of Shame scheme. The Chair enquired whether it was possible to share some of the videos and communications messages with Councillors in order for them to be shared more widely. The Cabinet Member agreed to consider this. (Action: Cllr Chandwani).
d. In response to concerns around offensive graffiti, the Cabinet Member advised that under the Veolia Contract, Veolia would remove this within 24 hours. The Cabinet Member suggested that the easiest and quickest way of reporting graffiti was through the app.
e. The Panel also raised concerns about dumped rubbish on Parkland Walk and a concern that some of the neighbouring properties were responsible. In response, the Cabinet Member acknowledged these concerns and advised that this would fall under the responsibility of parks rather than Veolia. The Panel were advised that officers were looking at the issue of dumped rubbish in open spaces and were looking at how to ensure that there was a consistent response for residential locations and open spaces.
f. In response to a question around Liveable Streets and whether a two week road closure was long enough, officers advised that all things considered this should be long enough and that, while it might be longer in an ideal world, there was always a balance to be struck and they had to consider the wider impact on road users.
g. The Panel requested that Liveable Streets be included on the next agenda and Cllr Hearn be invited to discuss this. (Action: Clerk).
h. The Panel sought further information around the review of green waste charges and whether this would include an examination of the anticipated £200k income shortfall. In response, the Cabinet Member advised that the shortfall was a predicted figure but that the service was based upon seasonal demand. The review would be undertaken in the winter, following the peak summer and autumn period, an accurate assessment of the income level could not be given until then.
i. In response to concerns about a failure to meet recycling targets, the Panel was advised that some of the reasons for this were to do with national changes to the level of contamination accepted in recycled waste. The Cabinet Member conceded that they needed to better communicate with residents on how to prevent contamination. The Cabinet Member also advised that recycling performance also had to be seen within the context of significant funding reductions for the service. The Cabinet Member also advised that part of the conversation nationally should be focused around reusable products and reducing single use plastics, rather than just recycling.
j. The Panel sought comments of whether the NLWA processed a narrower range of waste items than some other authorities. In response, the Cabinet Member acknowledged that this was the case and advised that this was largely due to the use of a 20 year old incinerator that could not be used for certain products. It was noted that the NLWA were looking to commission a state of the art incinerator to rectify this.
k. In response to a question, the Panel were advised that the service had trialled a litter enforcement project and the use of on the spot fines. Following the end of the trial, the service was in the process of bringing a similar service back in house. In response to concerns around dog fouling, the Panel was advised that the introduction of an in house litter enforcement service would increase the level of staff available to deal with a range of issues, including dog fouling.
l. In relation to the new Parking IT system, the Cabinet Member advised that she would be speaking to Members to engage with them around key areas and future functionality improvements such, as ANPR technology.
m. In response to concerns about safeguards and ensuring that the Wall of Shame did not encourage vigilantism, the Panel were advised that legal advice had been sought before implementing this scheme. Furthermore, no problems had been reported from similar schemes in Barking and Dagenham or Newham. The Panel noted that it was only the second week of the scheme but that the feedback had been overwhelmingly positive and residents had welcomed the increased deterrent. It was anticipated that the scheme would create an additional risk factor for would be fly-tippers through the targeted locating of cameras in hotspot locations. The ultimate aim was to engender behaviour change but in order to this it was necessary to create a credible risk.
The Panel noted the verbal update provided by the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods.