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Agenda item

Environmental Enforcement

Decision:

(a)       That Option 2 be adopted subject to the removal of the zero tolerance principal to issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for littering offences;

 

(b)       That Option 3 be reviewed in the 12 months; and

 

(c)        That the Authority contacts local Town and Community Councils with a view to working in collaboration on the employment of environmental enforcement officers.

Minutes:

            The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) introduced a report on the options for the future delivery of the Environmental Enforcement service.  He provided its contract with Kingdom, Kingdom had withdrawn their services with effect from end of August 2018.  The Chief Officer explained that the residual in-house enforcement officer team were currently undertaking all enforcement activities in the County.  The report identified the 5 possible options for delivering county wide enforcement of its environmental policies.  The Chief Officer invited the Highway Network Manager to present the report and the enforcement options appraisal which was appended.

 

The Highway Network Manager advised that following the recommendation to terminate the contract with Kingdom and explore different service delivery models, all Authorities in North Wales had been approached to understand their proposals moving forward.  Similar to this Authority, neighbouring Local Authorities were currently undergoing a review of their enforcement services with all options still open for consideration.  The Highways Strategy Manager reported on the 5 options available for county wide enforcement and referred to the relevant costs, benefits, and risks for the future service delivery models.  He advised that the preferred option was Option 2 – An enhanced in-house enforcement provision for the future delivery of the environment and car parking enforcement service within the County.

 

Councillor David Evans proposed that Option 2 be agreed subject to the removal of the zero tolerance principal to issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for littering offences.  He expressed the view that the risks with Option 3 outweighed the benefits and said he could not support this option. 

 

The Chief Officer explained that in respect of enforcement there is clear guidance to enforcement officers on when to enforce against intentional as opposed to accidental incidents.

 

Councillor Paul Shotton spoke in support of Option 2 and the proposal to employ a further 2 Enforcement Officers to deliver a service which would cover all the County.  He spoke of the need to engage with volunteers and local community groups and organisations to raise awareness and assist with the problem of discarded litter in local community areas.  He referred to the cost of environmental enforcement and asked that an update be provided to the Committee next year.

 

The Chief Officer explained that the employment of 2 further Enforcement Officers would create a budget cost pressure.  He acknowledged the comments made by Councillor Shotton regarding the involvement of the local community in the ‘clean-up’ of local areas and said that local groups and volunteers were engaged when local events were held.  He also advised that local area coordinators could be asked to use their community contacts and connections to seek assistance.

 

The Chair asked if he could be informed of when enforcement officers visited his Ward.  Councillor Carolyn Thomas said this information would be provided.  The Chief Officer said he would contact all Members to ask if they would also wish to receive this information.

 

Councillor Dave Hughes expressed his appreciation for the quick and efficient response he had received from the enforcement team to address the matters he had raised in his Ward.

 

Councillor Veronica Gay suggested that the Authority contacted Town and Community Councils to ask if they would consider the joint funding of enforcement officers with a view to maintaining their own town or community areas.  During discussion the Chief Officer suggested that the best option would be for Town and Community Councils to make an application to the environmental enforcement service if they wished to apply for enforcement assistance in their area.

 

Councillor Andy Dunbobbin referred to Option 3 – collaboration with neighbouring authorities to undertake all enforcement activities on a regional basis and asked if there had been any progress on this.  The Chief Officer explained that Flintshire had made a statement of intent regarding its position but no formal discussions had developed with other authorities yet.  In response to a further question from Councillor Dunbobbin the Chief Officer explained that working in collaboration with other local authorities to deliver all of the environmental enforcement services could achieve savings in back office and management systems.

 

The Chief Officer and Highway Network Manager responded to the further questions and comments raised by Members concerning environmental enforcement.  Officers provided further information on shift-working, the role of local area co-ordinators, and service operation and principles. The Highway Network Manager advised that the environmental enforcement service would respond to local requests to provide as much cover as possible across the whole of the County.

 

The Chair referred to the proposal which had been made by Councillor David Evans that Option 2 be adopted subject to the removal of the zero tolerance principal to issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for littering offences.  Councillor Sean Bibby seconded the proposal and when put to the vote this was carried.

 

Councillor David Evans proposed that Option 3 be reviewed in 12 months.  This was duly seconded and when put to the vote was carried.

 

Councillor Veronica Gay proposed that the Authority contacted local Town and Community Councils with a view to working in collaboration on the employment of environmental enforcement officers.  The proposal was seconded by Councillor Haydn Bateman and when put to the vote was carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That Option 2 be adopted subject to the removal of the zero tolerance principal to issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for littering offences;

 

(b)       That Option 3 be reviewed in the 12 months; and

 

(c)        That the Authority contacts local Town and Community Councils with a view to working in collaboration on the employment of environmental enforcement officers.

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