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Agenda item

Notice of Motion

Purpose:       To consider the following Notices of Motion.

 

(i)         Councillor Andy Dunbobbin

 

Making the next Census count for our Armed Forces community.  Draft Motion in Support of ‘Count Them In’.  This council notes:

 

1.     The obligations its owes to the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council as enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant; that the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage in the provision of services and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most.

2.     The absence of definitive and comprehensive statistics on the size or demographics of the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council. This includes serving Regular and Reserve personnel, veterans, and their families.

3.     That the availability of such data would greatly assist the Council, local partner agencies, the voluntary sector, and national Government in the planning and provision of services to address the unique needs of the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council.

 

In light of the above, this Council moves to support and promote The Royal British Legion’s call to include a new topic in the 2021 Census that concerns military service and membership of the Armed Forces community. We further call upon the UK Parliament, which will approve the final Census questionnaire through legislation in 2019, to ensure that the 2021 Census includes questions concerning our Armed Forces community.

 

(ii)        Councillor David Roney

 

In recognising the fantastic Council house building programme where Flintshire County Council will be building 200 homes over 5 years,

I ask that this Council installs Solar Panels to all of the houses currently being constructed and all future constructions to make these homes even better, and set an example to the building trade.

I also ask that this Council requests the present and future Westminster Governments to increase the feed-in tariff to encourage more use of this clean and renewable source of energy.

 

(iii)       Councillor Helen Brown

 

We Flintshire County Council call upon the National Assembly for Wales and Parliament to ensure legislation is put in place to ensure every child's safety is put first when travelling to and from school.

 

We want peace of mind that our children are safe when travelling to and from school. We want designated school buses with appropriate funding so that entitled children can travel safely to and from school, each with a seat belt, with no child forced to travel on overcrowded public buses. Children's safety must come first.

 

Our children have the right to feel safe. Public buses can become overcrowded and children do not always feel safe. Public buses are for public use not for dedicated school use. Local Councils cannot currently run appropriate safe dedicated services for children along commercially operated public bus routes.

 

We ask for this Council to work with both Governments to bring about the necessary changes to the current legislation and provision.

Decision:

(a)       That the Notice of Motion on supporting the national ‘Count Them In’ campaign be supported;

 

(b)       That the amended Notice of Motion to call upon Cabinet to consider installing solar panels be supported; and

 

(c)       That the Notice of Motion on funding for designated school transport be supported.

Minutes:

(1) Notice of Motion received from Councillor Andy Dunbobbin

 

‘Making the next Census count for our Armed Forces community.  Draft Motion in support of ‘Count Them In’.  This council notes:

 

(i)    The obligations it owes to the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council as enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant; that the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage in the provision of services and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most.

 

(ii)   The absence of definitive and comprehensive statistics on the size or demographics of the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council. This includes serving Regular and Reserve personnel, veterans, and their families.

 

(iii)  That the availability of such data would greatly assist the Council, local partner agencies, the voluntary sector, and national Government in the planning and provision of services to address the unique needs of the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council.

 

In light of the above, this Council moves to support and promote The Royal British Legion’s call to include a new topic in the 2021 Census that concerns military service and membership of the Armed Forces community. We further call upon the UK Parliament, which will approve the final Census questionnaire through legislation in 2019, to ensure that the 2021 Census includes questions concerning our Armed Forces community.’

 

This was seconded by Councillor Bernie Attridge.

 

The importance of the Motion was acknowledged by Councillor Aaron Shotton who spoke about the Council’s established support for the Armed Forces community through the Covenant and the annual Armed Forces Day event.  The highest proportion of Armed Forces veterans in North Wales resided in Flintshire and the approach set out in the ‘Count Me In’ national campaign would help to provide accurate data on other members of the Armed Forces communities who could benefit from the work of the Covenant.  Councillor Shotton acknowledged that the sharing of information in the Census was subject to personal choice and went on to refer to national discussions on the need to identify Armed Forces communities to enable targeted support.

 

Councillor Hilary McGuill agreed with the need for accurate data recording to target support for those in the military and for those leaving service.  However, she currently had reservations if the identification and locations of such individuals on the Census were mandatory due to concerns about the security of this information.  She stated her intention to abstain from the vote unless it was clarified that responses to the Census were optional.

 

Speaking in support of the Motion, Councillor Nigel Steele-Mortimer paid tribute to the work of the Royal British Legion.  Councillor David Evans spoke about the range support available to individuals leaving the Armed Forces, suggesting that a future item on this could be useful.

 

The Chairman felt that culture change was the most significant challenge in leaving the Armed Forces, particularly for those leaving long-term service.  He indicated his support for the Motion and the Council’s initiatives in supporting Armed Forces personnel and their families.

 

On being put to the vote, the Notice of Motion was carried.

 

(2) Notice of Motion received from Councillor David Roney

 

‘In recognising the fantastic Council house building programme where Flintshire County Council will be building 200 homes over 5 years, I ask that this Council installs solar panels to all of the houses currently being constructed and all future constructions to make these homes even better, and set an example to the building trade.  I also ask that this Council request the present and future Westminster Governments to increase the feed-in tariff to encourage more use of this clean and renewable source of energy.’

 

In support of this, Councillor Roney referred to a lack of progress on renewable energy highlighted at ministerial level.  He said that the initial costs in installing solar panels to new homes would provide clean energy and would pay for themselves over time.

 

As Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Helen Brown said that the benefits of renewable energy had long been recognised by the Council, as demonstrated by significant investment in a range of initiatives.  The approach adopted by the Council in prioritising solar panel installation in rural areas and bungalows was to achieve optimum benefits and had generated significant revenue to invest in additional schemes as well as providing savings to tenants.  Future domestic energy programmes would be dependent on Welsh Government funding.  The Flintshire Housing Standard for new build homes had been developed with key partners with a specific focus on quality of design, whole lifetime use and minimising energy usage and CO2 emissions.  The cost of installing solar panels at each of the 200 new Council homes within the programme would create an additional cost pressure of £0.5m.

 

Councillor Aaron Shotton supported the Motion and proposed a minor amendment to the second sentence to read ‘I ask that this Council calls upon Cabinet to install solar panels…’ to reflect that this was a Cabinet decision.  A commitment had been made to review the Flintshire Housing Standard to identify further improvements as the programme proceeded, and it was therefore timely for Cabinet to receive a report to evaluate progress to date and consider the potential for solar panels on future new build developments.  This was seconded by Councillor Attridge.

 

Councillor Roney indicated his agreement with this amendment.

 

Councillor Owen Thomas said that not all tenants were receiving the benefits from their solar panels.  The Chief Officer (Community & Enterprise) offered to share information and explained that solar panels offered environmental benefits as well as fuel cost savings to tenants, particularly those who were at home for longer periods during the day.  On the latter, evidence across Wales indicated that many residents with solar panels were opting to keep their heating on for longer periods which meant that they did not achieve the full cost saving.  However, it was difficult to compare cost benefits due to fluctuating fuel prices and the Council may need to do more work with tenants on understanding this.

 

Councillor Mike Peers sought clarification on whether the full Motion was subject to Cabinet decisions.  He had concerns that the suggested revised wording could be viewed as an obligation set by the Council and proposed a different amendment for the second sentence to read ‘I ask that this Cabinet considers installing solar panels…’ to take into consideration all elements including the Flintshire Housing Standard, installation costs, payback period and feed-in tariff.

 

When asked, Councillor Aaron Shotton repeated his amendment which would enable Cabinet to receive and consider a report on changes to the Flintshire Housing Standard.  Councillor Peers suggested that this would be more clearly reflected with the inclusion of the wording ‘Cabinet considers’.

 

In response, the Chief Officer (Governance) suggested as appropriate wording ‘I ask that this Council calls upon Cabinet to consider installing solar panels…’ to incorporate the points raised and the intent of the Motion.

 

Councillor Roney did not accept this revised wording as he felt it detracted from his Motion.  He indicated his agreement with the amendment put forward by Councillor Aaron Shotton.

 

Councillor Peers moved the Chief Officer’s suggested wording as an amendment and this was seconded by Councillor Gareth Roberts.

 

In support of the amendment moved by Councillor Peers, Councillor Richard Jones stressed the importance of considering all the issues involved to ensure the right outcomes from solar panels.  For similar reasons, Councillor Glyn Banks also supported the amendment citing the positioning of properties as a key factor.

 

In speaking to the same amendment, Councillor Aaron Shotton agreed with the principles of the Motion which added to the Council’s extensive record on energy projects.  He explained the intention of his own amendment to enable a Cabinet full review of the matter and advised that the second part of the Motion was a decision of the Council.

 

It was confirmed by the Chief Officer (Governance) that the installation of solar panels on new homes was a Cabinet decision and that a balanced report would be considered taking into account all factors.

 

Councillor Derek Butler supported the principle of the Motion which would be given full consideration by Cabinet.  Councillor Nancy Matthews said that Councillor Banks’ comment on the aspect of new housing should form part of the Motion.

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment put forward by Councillor Peers was carried and became the substantive Motion.

 

Prior to the start of the next item, Councillor Dennis Hutchinson left the room and returned following the debate.

 

(3)  Notice of Motion received from Councillor Helen Brown

 

‘We Flintshire County Council call upon the National Assembly for Wales and Parliament to ensure legislation is put in place to ensure every child's safety is put first when travelling to and from school.

 

We want peace of mind that our children are safe when travelling to and from school. We want designated school buses with appropriate funding so that entitled children can travel safely to and from school, each with a seat belt, with no child forced to travel on overcrowded public buses. Children's safety must come first.

 

Our children have the right to feel safe. Public buses can become overcrowded and children do not always feel safe. Public buses are for public use not for dedicated school use. Local Councils cannot currently run appropriate safe dedicated services for children along commercially operated public bus routes.

 

We ask for this Council to work with both Governments to bring about the necessary changes to the current legislation and provision.’

 

In providing background information, Councillor Brown paid tribute to the bravery of Lynne Chick for her safety campaign in memory of her daughter Louise Oldfield who had died in a bus accident.  She urged Members’ support in seeking a change in legislation and provision of funding for designated school buses, commenting that discussions were being held on commercial bus drivers being subject to the same checks as operators contracted by local authorities.  The Motion was duly seconded.

 

As Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Bernie Attridge welcomed the opportunity to address anomalies in the current statutory position on school transport and to seek consistency on checks, training and expectations on safeguarding issues which already applied to registered taxi drivers.  In supporting the Motion, he acknowledged the objectives of the campaign led by Lynne Chick in prioritising the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

 

Councillor Owen Thomas supported the Motion which he felt should also incorporate safe routes to school and the safety of bus drivers.  Councillor Attridge said that these were separate issues and should not form part of the Motion.

 

In response to a query by Councillor Richard Jones, the Chief Officer (Governance) clarified that the wording in the Motion, particularly in the final sentence, implied that the aim to work with both Governments would include pursuing the necessary funding to support any changes.

 

On being put to the vote, the Motion was unanimously supported.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That the Notice of Motion on supporting the national ‘Count Them In’ campaign be supported;

 

(b)       That the amended Notice of Motion to call upon Cabinet to consider installing solar panels be supported; and

 

(c)       That the Notice of Motion on funding for designated school transport be supported.

 

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