Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 7th January, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting on Zoom. View directions

Contact: Vivienne Messenger (01992 564243)  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

65.

Webcasting Introduction

(Corporate Communications Manager) This virtual meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to unmute before speaking.

 

The Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this virtual meeting will be broadcast live to the internet (or filmed) and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing (or other such use by third parties). Therefore, by participating in this virtual meeting, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes. If members of the public do not wish to have their image captured then they should ensure that their video setting is turned off throughout the meeting and set to audio only.

 

Please be aware that if technical difficulties interrupt the meeting that cannot be overcome, I may need to adjourn the meeting.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.

66.

SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

(Democratic Services Manager) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that Councillor C McCredie had been appointed as a substitute for Councillor J H Whitehouse and Councillor S Neville had been appointed as a substitute for Councillor D Plummer.

67.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

(Monitoring Officer) To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

 

In considering whether to declare a pecuniary or a non-pecuniary interest under the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members are requested to pay particular attention to paragraph (11) of the Code in addition to the more familiar requirements.

 

This requires the declaration of a non-pecuniary interest in any matter before Overview & Scrutiny which relates to a decision of or action by another Committee or Sub-Committee of the Council, a Joint Committee or Joint Sub-Committee in which the Council is involved and of which the Councillor is also a Member.

 

Paragraph (11) of the Code of Conduct does not refer to Cabinet decisions or attendance at an Overview & Scrutiny meeting purely for the purpose of answering questions or providing information on such a matter.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)          Pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor S Murray declared a non-pecuniary, non-prejudicial interest in item 5, Executive Decisions – Call-in, as he was a member and an officially appointed ambassador of the Epping Forest Heritage Trust, which was a successor organisation to the Epping Forest Centenary Trust and the Friends of Epping Forest. The Councillor had determined that he would remain in the meeting and vote as he was a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

(b)          Pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor D Wixley declared a non-pecuniary, non-prejudicial interest in item 5, Executive Decisions – Call-in, as he was a member of the Epping Forest Heritage Trust, as he had an interest in the Forest. The Councillor was not representing any views of the Trust, indeed he did not know if they had a view on this item. The Councillor had determined that he would remain in the meeting and vote as was a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

(c)          Pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor H Kauffman declared a non-pecuniary, non-prejudicial interest in item 5, Executive Decisions – Call-in, as he was a non-Executive Board Member of Qualis and would remain in the meeting.

68.

Executive Decisions - Call-In pdf icon PDF 101 KB

(Team Manager - Democratic & Electoral Services) To consider any matter referred to the Committee for decision in relation to a call-in, in accordance with Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Council’s Constitution.

 

Portfolio Holder Decision PLS-003: Adoption of Epping Forest SAC Interim Air Quality Mitigation Strategy has been called in for review by this Committee. The following documents are attached:

 

            (i)         the procedure note for the consideration of call-in items by the Overview             & Scrutiny Committee;

 

            (ii)        the Portfolio Holder Decision Report for PLS-003;

 

            (iii)       the Interim Air Quality Mitigation Strategy;

 

            (iv)       the call-in notification form; and

 

            (v)        the notes of the informal call-in meeting held on 24 December 2020.

 

The Portfolio Holder Decision was originally published on Friday 11 December 2020 for which all Members received an email notification of publication. The expiry of the call-in period was 5.00pm on Friday 15 December 2020, and the call-in notification form was received by Democratic Services at 3.53pm on Friday 15 December 2020. The Technical Appendices for the Portfolio Holder report were distributed to all Members via email on 24 December 2020, following the informal call-in meeting and the publication of this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that J Maurici, the Council’s appointed Counsel, and AECOM representatives, J Riley and H Venfield, of the appointed HRA and air quality consultants were in attendance at this meeting.

 

The procedure for the call-in by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was detailed on page 5 of the agenda. Normally five signatories accompanied a call-in but, on this occasion, there had been seven signatories. The Chairman proposed that the non-committee signatories be offered the opportunity to speak as the other councillors were members of the Committee. Councillor C P Pond said that she would withdraw her right to speak to help facilitate this.

 

(a)        Lead signatory to the call-in regarding his concerns

 

Councillor C C Pond, the lead member of the call-in, explained why Portfolio Holder Decision (PFH) PLS-003 (2020/21) on the adoption of the Interim Air Quality Mitigation Strategy had been called-in by himself and Councillors D J Wixley, C P Pond, S Neville, D Plummer, S A Heap and H Kauffman. At the informal meeting held on 24 December 2020, he referred to Councillor N Bedford’s remark that there were some 140 outstanding planning applications. Assuming these applications represented differing numbers of houses, this could amount to 700 extra dwellings, which could be authorised under this PFH decision. Also, taking an average of 1.5 vehicles per dwelling into consideration, this could possibly mean 1,000 extra vehicles within four miles of the Epping Forest SAC. The Council could not rely on something which might or might not happen. Air quality was a total concept. As well as the oxides of nitrogen, ammonia and ozone, particulates were also included especially from old diesel vehicles that left a sticky residue on foliage and on our lungs. No mention of this in the research was included in the decision. The imposition of a charge to drive a vehicle in the Forest was not in the Council’s gift. It might or might not be feasible to issue a CAZ, it might require Essex County Council Highways’ encouragement, or it might require a private Act of Parliament to establish a CAZ. The Council could not rely on the imposition of a CAZ, as a lot of residents could be against it. He had been advised that it would have been premature to call-in the decision (on the approach to managing the effects of air pollution on the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC)) made by Cabinet on 20 July 2020, as there was much to be decided later in the report. It had also been expected there would be further consultation before this PFH Decision had been published. Either a CAZ was deliverable under the Council’s powers or this was just window dressing to either hoodwink the public or delude the Local Plan Inspector, the Conservators and Natural England. He had also checked with the Conservators of Epping Forest. This remained premature because of the adverse effects on the SAC as the mechanisms were not embedded in Local Plan  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.