Planning and Sustainability (C-010-2021-22) – to note the progress made on the delivery of the environmental and air pollution strategies supporting the Local Plan.
1) The Cabinet noted the considerable progress made by the group since its inception and the number of additional ideas and suggestions made by the group that are currently being investigated prior to possible implementation; and
2) The Cabinet noted that the group’s success was heavily dependent on the ideas generated by the group, the evaluation of these ideas and advice given on their implementation. All members of the group were thanked for their contributions to date but it was considered that they would need to remain active in this regard over the following months.
The Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder, Councillor Bedford, introduced the report on the progress made by the Portfolio Advisory Group on the Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy. It was noted that the Council was already making significant progress with many of the environmental initiatives contained within the Local Plan, including bringing forward the first three of the green infra-structure projects and also significant developments in terms of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging, demand responsive transport and safer cycling routes. Specifically, in respect of air quality, the Council had implemented a published procedure where all new planning applications were scrutinised to determine whether they would deviate from the assumptions in the Local Plan air quality modelling, and to ensure that the necessary mitigation was built into their applications. Specifically, even with the release of small-scale developments, the environmental impacts of these were being re-evaluated, including held approvals, using the AECOM modelling approach. Councillor Bedford added that the detailed work continued as well as the promised establishment of an officer technical group to inform the development and implementation of IAPMS actions and measures and tap into technical knowledge to keep abreast of emerging air pollution mitigation initiatives .
He added that according to the latest government figures EFDC was now the second highest district in terms of ultra-low emissions vehicles on the roads in Essex. Initial surveys of council car parks to ascertain their electrical capability for charging points were taking place. It was anticipated that the first site would be at Oakwood Hill. We were working with Essex County Council to try and establish charging points in lamp-posts focusing on areas where off street parking was lower. We were establishing working arrangements with parish and town councils on addressing climate change and air pollution. The Council would also be developing new proposals for council owned car parks and looking into the electrification of the council’s refuse fleet. They were also urging TfL to roll out further charging points at underground station car parks.
Councillor Philip welcomed this report and encouraged the portfolio holder to bring regular updating reports going forward. He would like to know about the amount of work that the City of London was putting in to improving the air quality in the forest. Councillor Bedford said he had raised the issue of car parking charges and one of the issues he was looking at was to maybe bring a zero charge for electric vehicles. As for the Corporation of London they would be discussing the possibility of making their car parks free for electric vehicles.
Councillor Avey noted that some good ideas had come from the aborted “Next” application around Woodridden Hill and the junction with the M25; would these be brought forward and explored? Councillor Bedford conceded that was a sensible approach and was something to explore.
Councillor H Whitbread asked how the Council was engaging with local businesses to be more carbon neutral. She was told that they were being contacted with advice and education they needed to ... view the full minutes text for item 30