Agenda and minutes

Environment Select Committee - Tuesday, 19th March, 2024 6.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX. View directions

Contact: Emily Beard 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs Hamish Adourian and Roberto Weeden-Sanz.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Any member of the Council who has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a matter to be considered at the meeting is reminded to disclose the interest to the meeting and to leave the Chamber while any discussion or vote on the matter takes place.

 

Members are also reminded that if they have any other significant interest in a matter to be considered at the meeting, which they feel should be declared in the public interest, such interests should be declared to the meeting. In such circumstances Members should consider whether their continued participation, in the matter relating to the interest, would be reasonable in the circumstances, particularly if the interest may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interests, or whether they should leave the Chamber while any discussion or vote on the matter takes place.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

3.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 189 KB

The minutes of the meeting held on 16 January 2024 are submitted for confirmation. The action tracker is also enclosed.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting on 16 January 2024 were confirmed as a correct record.

 

4.

LEISURE CONTRACT UPDATE pdf icon PDF 447 KB

The purpose of the report is to provide an update on the current leisure contract that is operated by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) for the Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Following the Chair’s invitation, the Lead Member for Property, Parks and Leisure, Cllr. Emma Will, introduced the report and informed the Committee that the contract with the provider, Greenwich Limited Leisure (GLL), began in 2019 and was then hit by a series of difficult circumstances. These included the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the capital works that were delayed due to the pandemic, and the energy cost crisis.

 

The Chair added that this was an opportunity for the Committee to check in halfway through the contract.

 

The Committee were invited to ask questions of the Lead Member, supported by Ullash Karia, Head of Leisure and Parks, and Roger Winfield, Leisure and Sports Manager and the following points were raised:

1.  Asked whether the multi-sport event days were for any specific groups in the borough and noted the cricket day which was held for Afghan evacuees. The officers shared that the cricket day was very successful, but it would no longer be appropriate, as it was in response to a specific situation the borough was faced with. There were plans to expand this with the cricket season this summer and to set up a young colts team. The days were usually set up to respond to a need for certain groups.

 

2.  Enquired what the Council was doing to make sport and exercise accessible to all. The officers shared that they had junior memberships for the gym, and had programmes in place such as free swimming for under sixteen-year-olds in term time and £1 a swim during the school holidays. This was regularly marketed through schools in the borough and communications campaigns, especially during the holidays. Officers provided brochures for Councillors to distribute in their wards. The Lead Member added that the team was aligned with public health to help with promotion, and officers shared that the Council had teamed up with other facility providers in the borough such as skate parks. It was sometimes difficult to access school facilities due to high rates, but the Council always looked for opportunities for partnerships. The Lead Member noted that they tried to balance community use of facilities versus paid use, such as making two pitches available for the public to use for free at the Westway.

 

3.  Raised that there used to be female only and male only swimming sessions ran by the community and that there was a lack of female lifeguards for the female only sessions. The officers explained that it was challenging to recruit female only lifeguards for particular groups but that they were working with community groups to train them up. The Committee asked for an update on the progress of this.

 

Action by: Head of Leisure and Parks

4.  Enquired about holding community run sessions outside the standard opening hours of the centres. The officers shared that there were currently some swimming sessions which took place early in the morning, however, they had to be mindful of health and safety when conducting sessions outside standard hours. There  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

2022 ROAD COLLISION AND CASUALTY DATA pdf icon PDF 471 KB

This report summarises the 2022 road casualty data for Kensington and Chelsea, with key trends, progress against our casualty reduction targets and locations with the highest casualty numbers.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair invited the Lead Member for Planning and Place, Cllr. Cem Kemahli, supported by Mark Chetwynd, Head of Transportation and Highways, to introduce the report and the following points were raised:

1.  The Council was not on track to reach the 2030 target but was, however, on the same trajectory as the rest of London.

 

2.  Schemes to improve safety were in the pipeline, with some locations where big improvements could be made.

 

3.  Few residents contacted the Council to complain about motorcycle safety but they were the single biggest casualty group and were disproportionately involved in collisions where other people got hurt.

 

4.  Transport for London (TfL) will implement the Battersea Bridge safety scheme this year (2024). This site has the highest number of road casualties in the borough. All of the top four were on TfL roads. There were also a number of schemes on Council-run roads.

 

5.  Improvements did take a lot of time to get right and, the balance had to be struck between improving safety and keeping roads functional for road users.

 

The Committee discussed the report and raised the following points:

1.  Asked whether motorcyclists were predominantly delivery drivers. The officer confirmed that this was a working hypothesis, but they could not confirm it due to the limitations of the data they received from TfL. TfL had a road safety analysis team and the Council had put that question to them. The Lead Member added that some illegally adapted electric bicycles were reconfigured, to be as fast as motorcycles, however, with unsafe batteries, inappropriate brakes and ridden in an unsafe manner. Additionally, delivery drivers on motorcycles were often doing so under a provisional licence. The Committee noted that delivery riders were under economic pressure to ride fast and the officer explained that changing this meant a change to existing business models. The Committee asked for more information on how the Council could regulate this through conditions on licences of premises.

 Action by: Head of Transportation and Highways

 

2.  Questioned how long it took to implement changes on Red Routes (TfL roads). The Lead Member responded that for Battersea Bridge, for example, there was a fatality in 2021 and the scheme was due to be built at the end of 2024. There had been conversations around all of the roads on the list. The officer added that the fastest improvement on a TfL route was within months, which was a standalone, relatively simple scheme. There were a lot of stages in the process for major schemes, to enable substantial consultation and testing. The Council, for example, consulted on a scheme at King’s Road/ Beaufort Street scheme in 2020, but this was subsequently blocked at the consultation stage and was now being reviewed. The Council was not always as quick as they would like to be to implement new schemes, and anything involving adding signals took longer.

 

3.  Enquired about whether there was data on who was at fault for collisions and casualties. The officer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

MANAGEMENT OF TREES IN THE BOROUGH pdf icon PDF 187 KB

This report addresses the stewardship of trees in the Borough with particular emphasis on tree protection and the removal and replacement of street trees.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee were invited to ask questions of the Lead Member for Planning and Place, Cllr. Cem Kemahli, supported by Andrew Burton, Director of Transport and Regulatory Services, and Angus Morrison, Principal Arboricultural Officer and the discussion included the following points:

1.  Queried how trees in locations of large developments, such as Wornington Green, would be replaced. The officers explained that too much emphasis was placed on the number of trees, when having one tree in a good location was better than having three trees crammed in an unsuitable location. The Lead Member added that the Council took a proactive approach to planting trees and it involved investigating the road surface and highway. They always intended to improve tree coverage in areas which have less trees or have lost a significant number of trees, however, it was more difficult now due to underground pipes and wiring. The Committee asked about the underground mapping project which was ongoing. The officers shared that they were a part of it but it was not yet of any practical use and there was no timeline for it.

 

2.  Asked whether the Council replanted the same species of trees where a tree had been felled. The officers explained that as urban conditions have become tougher, they tried to pick trees that would survive a Mediterranean climate. The most widely planted was the London plane tree, which were clones and a sterile cross. In certain locations where there are lots of trees, the Council would plant the same species as what was there, otherwise it could look odd.

 

3.  Enquired whether there were any complaints regarding trees that had been planted in parking spaces. The Lead Member confirmed that the Council had received complaints. The Committee asked whether there were plans to do it any other locations. The officers explained that it cost 10 to 15 times more than the cost of a normal tree pit but they tried to get some funding from highways. For every highways scheme, soft landscaping was evaluated as part of the scope. The Lead Member added the amazing spaces programmes provided opportunities to put more trees in streets.

 

4.  Asked about the process of tree planting which was involved in new developments. The officers explained that all large schemes would have a landscaping condition which the Council would approve. They tried to ensure that the correct species were planted and the planting was appropriate for the scale of the development. The Lead Member shared that the plans for phase one of Earl’s Court Development had been published, which included additional green space which could potentially go on the area which was formerly the exhibition centre. Biodiversity net gain was also evaluated in planning applications. The Committee asked whether there was a way to encourage developers to move utilities to allow for more tree planting. The officers explained that this was possible, however, as it would be an unknown cost, developers would be reluctant to commit. Section 106 money has been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

CUSTOMER AND RESIDENT-FOCUSSED ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES TRANSFORMATION (CREST) - UPDATE pdf icon PDF 119 KB

This paper provides the Committee with progress and service update on the joining up of the Council’s street-based enforcement and community engagement teams under the CREST Programme.      

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Following the Chair’s invitation, the Lead Member for Planning and Place, Cllr. Cem Kemahli, supported by Andrew Burton, Director of Transport and Regulatory Services, and Tracey Umney, Street Enforcement Team Manager, introduced the report and raised the following points:

1.  This had been a long running piece of work to make services easier to navigate for residents, through establishing a single service to meet the needs of the community.

 

2.  A street enforcement team had been launched by combining the workforce of community wardens and waste management.

 

3.  The volume of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) since the launch had been significant. It was now easier for residents to report issues and log complaints.

 

4.  Each ward had dedicated officers and ward walkabouts were conducted with ward Councillors and local businesses, as each ward had individual issues.

 

The Committee were invited to ask questions regarding the report and the discussion included:

1.  Queried how recurring issues, particularly in relation to rubbish being dumped, were dealt with. The officers explained that part of the work through the ward walkabouts was for officers to learn about hotspots and understand root causes of problems. For example, it could be an issue related to a short-term let or a regular turnover of residents. Issues needed to be regularly reported to make officers aware of the frequency of an issue.

 

2.  Asked what practical measures the Council could take with issues linked to short term lets, officers explained that they were tricky circumstances and it was important to educate those using the premises, such as, putting a notice on the door on the way out and including waste management in the documents for a property. The Committee enquired whether planning permission to allow them to operate as a short-term let could be removed when the owner was not cooperating. The officers shared that this was a project they would like to look at in due course.

 

3.  Noted that they had seen a difference in Russell Road and suggested having a reminder sticker about rubbish collection on the front door of each flat, rather than just of the flat building. The Lead Member agreed and noted that it was a societal issue, as if you see a street with rubbish, you assume it was the right day to put out rubbish. The Council introduced small electric buggies which took rubbish away, as if there was no rubbish out, then people would not add to it.

 

4.  Suggested introducing new types of signage, such as, including how many FPNs had been issued over a period of time. The Lead Member said that they could review their signage, however, the biggest impact was from word of mouth. It was also important to have street presence as people were less likely to drop rubbish with others watching or commenting on it. The Committee also suggested adding contact details of Streetline on the signs so that residents knew how to report issues. The Lead Member agreed that it was a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

WORK PROGRAMME REPORT pdf icon PDF 116 KB

This report is an update on the work programme and scrutiny activities, setting out reports for upcoming meetings.

 

Minutes:

The Committee agreed to take a report on the new Sports Strategy at its first meeting of the municipal year on 8 July 2024.