Agenda and minutes

Environment and Regeneration Committee
Wednesday 11 November 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: remotely - Remotely. View directions

Items
No. Item

ER204/20

Notice and Summons of Meeting

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration read the Notice and Summons for the Meeting.

ER205/20

Statement of Remote Broadcast

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration read the Statement for a Remote Meeting.

 

ER206/20

Apologies

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration took the roll call and no apologies were recorded.

 

 

ER207/20

Declarations of Members' Interests

Minutes:

A Declaration of Interest was declared by:

 

Alderman Hussey – Item 7 – Six Monthly Progress Report (Covid Recovery Revitalisation Programme).

 

 

ER208/20

Condolences

Minutes:

Members from all Parties expressed their deepest sympathy to the Chairperson on the recent death of his Mother and said their thoughts and prayers were with him and his family at this time of sad loss.

 

The Chairperson thanked Members for their expressions of condolence.

 

 

ER209/20

Deputation - To receive Dr S Blockwell, Head of Investment Management and Mr C Nicell, Head of Business Analytics, NI Water to deliver a Presentation on NI Water Infrastructure Plans and Funding (copy attached). pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

 

The Committee received Dr S Blockwell, Head of Investment Management and Mr C Nicell, Head of Business Analytics, NI Water to deliver a presentation on NI Water Infrastructure Plans and Funding, a copy of which had previously been circulated.

 

Members thanked Dr Blockwell and Mr Nicell for their comprehensive presentation which addressed many issues of significance for this Council area.

 

Councillor Jackson referred to general assumptions regarding the accessibility and quality of our drinking water but referred to increased warnings that this resource was under considerable pressure.  He referred to a meeting which had taken place between Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson and NI Water’s Chief Executive regarding the challenges arising from the under investment in NI Water.  He said his Party had made a call for proper investment into NI Water and referred to in-Party discussions which had taken place regarding the ambitious plans for the City and District.  He referred to the announcement the previous week by the Minister for Communities regarding ambitious plans for NIHE and her statement that there would be a ring-fenced allocation of funding to deliver the much needed social housing in Derry and North and West Belfast.  He stated that this was a firm commitment to address housing need.  He referred to the Housing Executive’s plans to build three thousand new social housing dwellings within the next five years.  He reiterated the Minister’s efforts to address the housing problem in the City however, it was a matter of serious concern to learn that the relevant infrastructure might not be in place to facilitate this programme of new build by NIHE.  He acknowledged that the final recommendation was still awaited in regards to PC21 and questioned that, if successful, this would have an impact on the delivery of housing within the Derry and Strabane Council area.  He welcomed NI Water’s contribution to Council’s LDP and acknowledged the content of the response to the recent planned strategy.  He referred to the fact that Council’s LDP was based on a twelve year timeframe and expressed concern that a similar period of time would be required to bring the relevant waste water treatment infrastructure up to the required standard.  He queried the potential for Council’s ambitions as set out in its LDP being curtailed until the necessary investment in the works water treatment was forthcoming. 

 

Councillor Jackson referred to the issue of Brexit which had not been addressed in the presentation.  He said it was understood that many of the chemicals used to ensure the provision of safe drinking water were purchased from Europe.  He enquired if there was security of supply post Brexit, and, if so, if this would involve any additional costs. 

 

Alderman Ramsey referred to the major issues addressed in the presentation which NI Water had previously raised in terms of going forward.  He pointed out that PC21 required considerable funding and as such Alderman Ramsey Proposed

 

That    Council write to the Department for Infrastructure supporting calls for NI Water for  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER209/20

ER210/20

Confirmation of the Open Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Committee held on Wednesday, 14 October 2020 pdf icon PDF 452 KB

Minutes:

The Open Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Committee (ER164/20-ER192/20) held on 14 October were confirmed and signed by the Chairperson.

 

Matters Arising

ER211/20

To Receive Mr J Sammon, Ms P Ross and Mr B O'Donnell, Trustees, Boomhall Trust, to Deliver a Presentation on the Restoration of Boomhall (ER168/20

Minutes:

Alderman Hussey referred to the use of Boomhall by the WREN’s which could not be overlooked in regards to the history of this building.

 

 

ER212/20

Recycling Centres (ER170/20)

Minutes:

Alderman Hussey referred to the continued closure of the Killen Recycling Centre which he anticipated would be resolved in the longer term.

 

In regards to the Eglinton Recycling Centre, the Head of Environment explained that following the previous Meeting of Committee Officers had met with the landowner concerned regarding the traffic management plan in respect of the site.  He pointed out that the Traffic Management Consultants had been on-site earlier that week to carry out the necessary review and had submitted a draft report on the matter.  He pointed out that there were some areas of conflict in regards to the landowner’s initial proposal and the Traffic Management Consultant’s review.  A further Meeting had now been arranged with Gerard O’Donnell to have these issues resolved.  These referred to the circulation of traffic and pedestrians outside the Recycling Centre but inside the confines of the wider industrial estate.  He anticipated, however, that a resolution would be forthcoming in the coming days and the plans presented to HSENI for final sign off which would facilitate the reopening of the centre.

 

The Head of Environment pointed out that a meeting with one of the landowners in regards to the Killen Recycling Centre had taken place earlier that week to discuss possible options.  The landowner had been very supportive of Council’s proposal for the site.  It was therefore anticipated that this would be progressed and discussions had also taken place with Planning Officers regarding this proposal.  He said this was progressing and in accordance with the recommendation made at the previous Meeting of Committee Council was also progressing with all of the other options.  Council was considering proposals in regards to the existing site and was also considering a further site which had been identified within the Killen Village as well as the former DOE yard at the bridge in Castlederg.  It was also re-advertising the expressions of interest.  In terms of concerns raised by Members in regards to access to facilities, he assured that more bulky waste could be accommodated at the Spamount Centre on the days in question and consideration was being given in regards to possible short-term measures regarding the disposal of paint and other items.

 

 

ER213/20

Misuse of Fireworks (ER171/20)

Minutes:

Alderman Hussey requested that Officers investigate the possibility of the RSPCA putting forward suggested actions to be taken by Council to address this problem.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that this was a matter for the Health and Communities Committee as they had responsibility for environmental health and community safety issues.  She stated that she had made the relevant officers aware of the comments made at the previous Meeting of Committee and undertook to refer Alderman’s Hussey’s comments accordingly.

 

Alderman McCready thanked the Head of Environment for the detailed update in regards to the Eglinton Recycling Centre and sought a further update following the signing off of the Risk Assessment and a Final Traffic Management Plan.

 

 

ER214/20

Maintenance Issues - Shrub Bed, Main Street, Castlederg (ER176/20)

Minutes:

Alderman Hussey queried if the shrubbery element contained in the Car Park in Castlederg was in Council ownership.  He also referred to shabby condition of the access to Castlederg town via Prospect Terrace and enquired if it would be possible for Council to ascertain who was responsible for this.  He also referred to the removal of a tree from Main Street and enquired if there were plans to have this replaced.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration undertook to address the issues raised in regards to specific areas in Castlederg with Alderman Hussey directly.

 

The Head of Environment undertook to address the issues raised with the relevant Officers.

ER215/20

Update - The 18 Million Tree Campaign (ER182/20)

Minutes:

Alderman Hussey requested that the substantive report to be presented in regards to the above matter consider the encouragement and support with advice to any groups wishing to plant trees to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Northern Ireland via some small trees.  He referred to the fact that this had been done previously on notable occasions.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration undertook to refer Alderman’s Husseys comments to the relevant Officers for consideration.

 

ER216/20

Memorials at City Cemetery (ER183/20)

Minutes:

Alderman Hussey noted the considerable emphasis on the City Cemetery but referred to problems experienced in other Cemeteries within the Council area in regards to the lawn-type layout.  He requested that the further detailed report address all of Council’s cemeteries and in particular those with the lawn-type facility. 

 

The Director of Environment referred to the Committee’s decision to reinstate the Cemeteries Working Group and a meeting had taken place with various Party Leaders regarding the matter.  Nominations had also been sought onto that group.  She advised that this would be a matter for consideration by the Cemeteries Working Group the outcome of which would subsequently be presented to Committee for consideration.

 

Alderman McCready thanked the Director of Environment and Regeneration for the update in regards to the recommencement of the Cemeteries Working Group and looked forward to resolutions presented by the Working Group.  He acknowledged the difficulties and complexities surrounding the task at hand.  He queried when the further detailed report would be presented to Committee.

 

Councillor Carr nominated Councillor Donnelly onto the Cemeteries Working Group.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that when all of the nominations onto the Cemeteries Working Group had been received a meeting would be arranged as soon as possible.  However, this was required before a further detailed report would be presented to Committee.  She assured that the matter would be progressed as quickly as possible.

 

The Head of Environment referred to the sensitivities surrounding this issue which would be reflected in the report.  He stated that aside from what had been agreed by Committee Council’s Corporate Health and Safety Officer and Assurance Officer had now become involved and the content of any detailed discussions would be presented to the Cemeteries Working Group for consideration together with the drafting of the further report to be presented to Committee.

 

The Chairperson encouraged all Parties to submit their nominations in respect

of the Cemeteries Working Group as soon as possible.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that Councillor Donnelly be nominated onto the Cemeteries Working Group.

 

 

ER217/20

Switching for a Kerbside Co-Mingled to a Kerbside Sort System pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Environment presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to provide Members with a report into the costs and associated issues with regard to switching from a kerbside co-mingled collection system to a kerbside sort collection system following a request at a previous Meeting of Committee.

                       

The Head of Environment explained that currently all of Council’s recycled materials were placed in a blue bin and were taken off-site for processing.  However, in a kerbside sort system these were separated at the kerbside into specific materials and then removed.  He referred to an earlier recommendation by the Committee in regards to a Circular Economy Zero Waste strategy and Council had been progressing elements of the strategy one of which was the introduction of a separate collection. WDR and RT Taggart Consultants had been engaged to examine this and they had brought forward what they considered to be the main issues for consideration.

 

The Committee received Mr A Thompson, Taggart Consultants who gave a power-point presentation identifying the impacts of switching from a co-mingled to a kerbside sort system.  A copy of the presentation had previously been circulated to Members.  Mr Thompson then invited Members’ questions.

 

Members welcomed this comprehensive presentation on such a significant issue facing Council and the whole debate regarding climate change.

 

Alderman McCready queried why the Consultants had only outlined and analysed scenario 4 and asked if a detailed synopses had been carried out in respect of the other three scenarios to be presented to Committee.  He referred to much of the findings in regards to cost and the significance thereof to Council and the need for Council to balance this with the effectiveness of this system if adopted, notwithstanding the current financial constraints and issues arising from Covid.  He said these issues aside it was a major decision for Council to transform how waste was managed and recycled holistically.  He said given the enormity of this task he would require greater details in regards to the other scenarios in regards to risks associated and costs involved.  He also sought comparable data and an in-depth analysis on how this translated and variations of cost.

 

Alderman McCready pointed out that Council endeavoured to prosper in respect of all its projects and programmes.  He referred to the potential for exploitation on something of such a large scale through business opportunities.  In regards to references made to taxes and plastics and monopolies by a few companies he expressed concern that Council could be forced into becoming part of a consortium particularly given issues which had arisen in the past in regards to waste management.  He said he was not at all comfortable with the recommendation for Council to partake in any financial commitments.  He was supportive of the recommendation for Council Officers to engage with central government and seek external funding to fund a project such as this but not necessarily scenario 4.  He  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER217/20

ER218/20

Six Monthly Progress Report - Environment and Regeneration Directorate pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to present Members with an update in relation to Directorate achievements during 2019/2020 and a six monthly update in relation to progress against planned service delivery targets for the first six months of 2020/2021.

 

Councillor Jackson welcomed the report and on behalf of his Party commended staff on the work carried out by the Directorate particularly during such challenging times.  He referred to the considerable amount of information contained in the report which reflected the scale of work carried out by the Directorate.  He referred specifically to the delivery of community centres which had been long awaited.  He referred to the level of work carried out in respect of campaigning for these centres and the massive beneficial impact they would have on respective communities.  He referred to the Top of the Hill Community Centre which had recently opened its Playgroup and Youth Club which was hugely welcomed in the area.  He looked forward to a time when this facility could be enjoyed by the wider community.  He stated that the report reflected the work plan in respect of the previous six months which, he reminded Members, was in the midst of a global pandemic.  He said Officers had to be commended on the level of work carried out.  He referred to the reduction in services being offered by other Councils, when this Council had endeavoured to ensure that service provision continued as much as possible throughout the pandemic.  This was a positive and welcome approach.  He referred to the work which was continuing in regards to the Council’s Greenways and Play Strategies and in particular the newly announced shop front enhancement scheme planned for Spencer Road.  He referred to the fact that this was an extremely challenging time for businesses and particular local independent businesses and the long await Shopfront Initiative provided a glimmer of hope for the future.

                       

Councillor Jackson noted with concern the low figures in regards to progress made under planning.  Whilst acknowledging how the planning function had continued throughout the ongoing pandemic and restrictions put in place he enquired if the figures mentioned were a matter of concern. 

 

Alderman Hussey commended Council Officers on the efficiency with which they dealt with the Covid Recovery Revitalisation Programme.  He referred to the 6.89 million euro which had been secured in respect of the Riverine Project and enquired if there were concerns regarding receipt of these monies.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration thanked Members for their comments and acknowledged the level of work which had been carried out and schemes delivered during the previous six months and during such challenging times.  She commended her Senior Management Team and all of the staff within the Directorate on their hard work and efforts during this period.  She stated that currently there were no concerns in terms of planning and referred to an issue  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER218/20

ER219/20

Update on the Introduction of the Fly-Tipping Protocol and Article 4 and 5 of Waste and Contaminated Land (Amendment) Act 2011 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Environment presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on the implementation of the Fly-tipping Revised Shared Protocol agreement with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) as well as the commencement of Articles 4 and 5 of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

 

Councillor Fleming welcomed the report and noted the ongoing work being carried out by Council Officers and the NIEA officials in regards to Articles 4 and 5 and the implications thereof.  He enquired as to a timeframe in regards to the completion of the process and if there were any key issues which Members should be made aware of.    He also sought clarification in regards to the classification and implications for Council in relation to Article 5.

 

In regards to 2.4 of the report, Alderman Hussey stated that NIEA had responsibility for waste deposition greater than 20 cubic metres.  He enquired as to how often NIEA had been engaged and how quick was their response in such situations. He commended Council staff responsible for dealing with fly-tipping on their swift response to any complaints submitted. 

 

The Head of Environment explained that the main concern in regards to Article 5 for Council was the application of the Duty of Care requirements.  He said Councils were satisfied with applying Article 5 to their own spheres of operation.  However, the Duty of Care was much wider than this and applied to anyone transporting waste and therefore Council could be requested to carry out inspections and checks on third party operators who were not providing services directly for Council and the resource implications in terms of doing this.  He stated that these concerns had been raised by a number of Councils and a small working group made up of Officers from a number of Councils had been established to consider this matter and bring forward proposals in terms of how this might be addressed.  He pointed out that a meeting of the working group had been scheduled to take place in two weeks following which it was intended that proposals would be presented to all 11 Councils in regards to taking this forward.  If there was agreement on these proposals it was anticipated that this would be presented to the Department in January for further discussion.

 

The Head of Environment explained that Council had been able to secure NIEA’s services on a number of occasions, albeit, not as many as it would have liked.  He said they had responded to some of the larger scale incidents across the City and District in recent years.  He referred, however, to the challenges in determining 20 cubic metres and it was hoped that the fly-tipping protocol would remove any uncertainty regarding which organisation had responsibility and any issues arising from this could be resolved.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that Members endorse the Fly-Tipping Protocol as detailed in Appendix 1.

 

 

ER220/20

Mobuoy Update pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Environment presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He pointed out that the purpose of the report was to advise Members of the monthly update from DAERA on progress in relation to Mobuoy Road remediation.

 

Councillor Durkan referred to the fact that this was the first meeting which had taken place since the meeting with the Minister for Environment regarding this matter.  She referred to the issues addressed with him regarding the Public Inquiry.  She said it was becoming more evident that this was a cross cutting issue which involved numerous Departments.  She felt this issue required a wider Executive response.  She suggested that Council write to the Executive Office and this correspondence be copied to relevant Ministers including DAERA, DfI, Justice, Health, Communities and Finance.  She also referred to the potential cross-border issues which added to the cross-cutting nature of this issue.  She said it was not about pinpointing individual Ministers but the Executive as a whole taking responsibility for the remedial and strategic response which included a fact finding inquiry.  She said little had changed since March 2014 when there was cross-party support for the need for such an inquiry.  She said Mobuoy was just one example and was about the wider policy and practice of illegal waste across the North.  She said it was important that the Executive accepted responsibility for remedial measures and assurances and strategic recommendations.  She also referred to the need to avoid a repetition and to anticipate future problems and pre-empt and prevent these.  She said it was important to have the full Executive involved as an inquiry would scrutinise information from all relevant authorities both in the Republic of Ireland and in the UK including the Crimes Agency and HMRC.  She continued that the Minister’s response was to focus on looking forward.  However, a Public Inquiry was required in order to move forward totally because recommendation and remedy would be informed by such an exercise.

Councillor Carr concurred with the sentiments expressed by Councillor Durkan.

 

Councillor McCann referred to the need for the facts to be established in a formal manner and to consider the wider implications in regards to this.  He said he had been part of a non-Council delegation to lobby the Minister in recent weeks regarding the need for justice.  He said the Minister had recently indicated to The Gathering that he had already spoken to the Republic’s Minister for Environment on this issue together with the issue of cross-border waste and would have further discussions on the matter through the North West Ministerial Council.  He emphasised that if a stakeholders group was to be established it must include and involve those with an in-depth knowledge and experience of the Mobuoy problem including representatives from the Enagh Youth Forum. He referred to the considerable number of green spaces in the greater Derry area some of which were quite lavish which were a tribute to Council and the realisation of such  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER220/20

ER221/20

Invasive Alien Species Strategy of Council Owned Greenspaces Update pdf icon PDF 376 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to provide clarification on queries raised by Members at the July (ER22/20) and September (ER147/20) 2020 Environment and Regeneration Committee Meetings in relation to invasive species in the Strabane area and collaborative working with stakeholders to address invasive species.

 

Councillor McHugh welcomed the ongoing works in regards to tackling invasive species and he acknowledged the complications involved.

 

Councillor Edwards welcomed the progress in regards to addressing the problem with Japanese Knotweed along the Strabane River Walkway.  In regards to the annual budget of £5,000 he wondered if alternative options were being considered.  He said himself and Alderman Hussey had visited Sion Mills and saw the Giant Hogweed in the wider area growing on private land which was not being addressed.

 

Alderman Hussey concurred with the comments made by the previous speaker. During a visit to the Sion Mills area he had witnessed at the railway embankment and beyond the presence of invasive species which appeared to be growing on private land.  As such he felt it would be important to contact DAERA with regard to having enforcement action taken to address this problem.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that Council write to DAERA enquiring as to what enforcement activity was being carried out within the Derry City and Strabane Council area in terms of invasive species.

 

 

ER222/20

Repair and Replacement of Riverside Retaining Structures - Project Update pdf icon PDF 255 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on progress with riverbank strengthening works at Claudy and Sion Mills.

 

Councillor McHugh expressed his disappointment at the postponement of the proposed works to Sion Mills Riverside Walkway.  However, it was obvious from the report that this was unavoidable and it was probably more sensible to have the works at Claudy completed prior to having the works at Sion Mills carried out.  He stated that the issue in regards to Sion Mills had been raised by Councillors for the area on numerous occasions in recent years.  It was regrettable that having the necessary approvals in place it had not been possible for the works go proceed at this stage.  He said it was paramount that these works were carried out as soon as possible.

 

Councillor Edwards also expressed his disappointment at the delay in the works being carried out given the lack of green space in this area and felt it was important to have the upgrading works carried out to restore this to a level of safety for the general public. He anticipated that the works would be carried out early in the new year.  He referred to a meeting he had early that week with Council Officers regarding the possibility of extending the walkway and greenways in respect of the wider area. 

Alderman Hussey concurred with the remarks made by Councillor McHugh in regards to the fact that this was an ongoing issue particularly in the Sion Mills area spanning back to the 2017 floods when part of the embankment eroded causing a serious health and safety issue along the riverside walkway.  He said it was extremely disappointing to find out that these works would be delayed until Spring 2021 because of restrictions placed on Council by others.  He queried the rationale in regards to being at the commencement stage and being told the works could not proceed.  He understood that water levels would increase during the winter period but certainly anticipated that come the early Spring these much needed works would commence.

The Director of Environment and Regeneration shared Members’ frustrations in regards to this matter and said she would endeavour to have these works commenced as soon as possible.

 

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control stated that fundamentally the issue in regards to the commencement of these works was because of the Covid pandemic.  He pointed out that the works had been tendered in sufficient time to ensure they would be carried out during the most advantageous period over the summer when water levels would have been at their lowest.  However, unfortunately due to Covid it had not been possible to appoint a contractor to be on-site and carry out the works at that time.  By the time Council were in a position to appoint a contractor and they were able to begin work  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER222/20

ER223/20

Terracycle Recycling Scheme pdf icon PDF 449 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Environment presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to provide Members with an overview of the Terracycle Recycling Programme in consideration of the recent Notice of Motion agreed at Council.

 

 

ER224/20

Proposed Provision of Disabled Parking Bays Across the District pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She pointed out that the purpose of the report was to advise Members of correspondence received in October 2020 from DfI Network Development Section regarding proposed disabled parking bays across the District.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

 

ER225/20

DfI No Waiting Restriction pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She pointed out that the purpose of the report was to advise Members of DfI’s correspondence regarding a proposal to introduce a no waiting restriction.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

ER226/20

Christmas Lighting

Minutes:

Councillor McHugh said he understood that Christmas Lighting features were to be erected in Killen Village and Killeter Village as part of the 2020 Christmas Lighting Scheme.  He understood a feature had been erected in Killen and enquired as to the current position in regards to Killeter.

 

The Head of Environment undertook to address this matter directly with Councillor McHugh.