Agenda and minutes

Environment and Regeneration Committee
Wednesday 8 July 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: remotely - Remotely. View directions

Note: No public access is permitted to the Guildhall due to Covid-19. The meeting can be viewed via the Council’s You Tube channel. 

Items
No. Item

ER17/20

Notice and Summons of Meeting

Minutes:

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

ER18/20

Attendance and Apologies

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration took the roll call and recorded an apology from Councillor Dobbins.

 

 

ER19/20

Declarations of Members' Interests

Minutes:

There were no declarations of Members’ interests.

Chairperson's Business

ER20/20

Staff Mobile Telephones

Minutes:

Alderman Ramsey said that although Members had advised previously that private mobile phones had been removed from staff, it had recently become apparent that this was not the case.  He referred to a notice which had been issued to staff regarding personal mobile phone usage.  He continued that Members’ had now been informed that personal mobile phones were to be placed in lockers during shifts but could be accessed at lunch-time and break-time and queried if this was a breach in policy.  He referred to this practice and possible links to whistleblowing and sought information in regards to the current position.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration thanked the Member for bringing this to her attention.  She undertook to liaise with Council’s Lead Human Resources Officer regarding this matter and clarify the position accordingly.

 

Alderman McKane requested that Members were furnished with a copy of the policy relating to the use of personal mobile phones by employees.  He referred to the importance of mobile phones for lone-workers.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration undertook to discuss the matter with the Chief Executive and the Lead Human Resources Officer.  She stated that such matters were usually dealt with between Officers and the relevant Trade Unions etc through agreed mechanisms.  She undertook to ensure that all issues were addressed through the appropriate channels.  She referred to a number of Council policies all of which were available to Members.

 

ER21/20

Dog Fouling

Minutes:

Councillor Carr expressed concern that the previous week an elderly lady, whilst visiting the City Cemetery, had found dog foul on her son’s grave which she found extremely upsetting.  He referred to the need to have this issue addressed and prevent dogs from entering the City Cemetery and fouling on graves.

 

The Head of Environment advised that signage at the City Cemetery had been reviewed and officers were currently working with Dog Wardens regarding City Cemetery.  He undertook to have the situation further reviewed with a view to increasing signage.  However, he pointed out that as the Cemetery was now open to the public it would be a matter of policing the situation.

 

The Chairperson acknowledged the sentimentality involved in such a situation.

 

ER22/20

Giant Hogweed Across Council Area

Minutes:

Councillor Edwards referred to the presence of Hogweed across the Council district and especially in Sion Mills.  He pointed that the area along the river bank was completely blighted with this weed and queried what action could be taken to address this problem.

 

The Head of Environment acknowledged the danger of Giant Hogweed and referred to a number of reports previously presented to Committee on this issue.  He stated that this represented a major problem along waterways where its seeds were easily dispersed.  He stated that measures were taken to eradicate this problem on Council lands.  However, it was a matter for land owners to tackle the problem on private lands.  He undertook to present a report on the matter to the September Meeting of Committee.

 

 

ER23/20

Confirmation of the Open Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Committee held on Wednesday 10 June 2020 pdf icon PDF 291 KB

Minutes:

The Open Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Committee (ER84/20-ER107/20) held on 10 June 2020 were agreed and signed by the Chairperson as correct.

 

 

Matters Arising

ER24/20

Covid19 Works on the Quay (Ref ER89/20)

Minutes:

Councillor Jackson referred to concerns expressed by his Party colleague regarding the possibility of a licence being presented to Council in respect of the storage of coal at Bay Road.  He said he understood that a meeting had been arranged between elected representatives and local residents to discuss this issue.  He said he had been requested by his Party colleague to bring the concerns expressed by local residents to the attention of this Committee and requested that a report thereon be presented to the relevant Council Committee.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that this matter was the responsibility of Council’s Environmental Health Department who reported to the Health and Community Directorate. She suggested that the matter be raised at a Meeting of that Committee the following day. She said she understood that the Head of Environmental Health together with various other Officers had met with residents of the area on site to discuss the issue.  She undertook to raise the issue of the permit process with the Director of Health and Community.

 

Councillor Durkan pointed out that a number of Members had been contacted by residents of the area.  She referred to the importance of this issue being addressed given Council’s position on climate emergency and the need for a move away from the use of fossil fuels and a shift towards renewable energy sources.  She stated that notwithstanding that this was not the relevant Directorate, given Council’s position in regards to climate emergency and the expertise which existed within the Environment and Regeneration Directorate there must be better cross departmental consultation. She referred to the significance of the green infrastructure plan for this area in regards to this issue and pointed out that this was a very popular walkway which rendered this a City wide issue.  She said she also understood that DAERA had carried out a recent examination of the site in regards to water contamination whether or not this was related to this specific application.  She also referred to the issue of air pollution and pointed out that this was a major aspect in regards to Council’s climate pledge and environmental health in general.  She stated that residents and the general public were seeking peace of mind regarding this issue and sought assurances that Council’s Climate Manager would be fully engaged in the consultation process.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration undertook to ensure that the Climate Manager would be involved in the consultation process.  She pointed out, however, that this was a specific statutory licence application process which enabled certain things to be taken into consideration.  The application process, however, did not unfortunately include wider environmental issues.  She referred, however, to the possibility of raising the matter with central government to request that the process address the wider environmental issues involved.

 

Councillor Durkan whilst acknowledging the comments made by the Director of Environment and Regeneration pointed out that there were a number of legislative gaps e.g. that there was currently no clean air legislation.  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER24/20

ER25/20

Killen Recycling Centre

Minutes:

In response to a request from Councillor McHugh for an update on the Killen Recycling Centre, the Head of Environment pointed out that as had been indicated at the previous Meeting of committee the solicitors were engaging with the vendors and these discussions were ongoing.  He stated that information was now forthcoming from the sellers in regards to the amount of land to be made available and this was currently being evaluated by LPS.  He pointed out that currently the main issue referred to the fact that the area of land being offered for sale was in excess of the amount required by Council and this would require consideration from a value for money perspective.  It was anticipated that a report on how to proceed could be presented to the September Meeting of the Committee for Members’ consideration.

 

ER26/20

Mobuoy Update and Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 168 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 and to seek Members’ comments and recommendation with regard to the draft Terms of Reference suggested for the joint Task and Finish group involving Council and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to consider use of the Mobuoy post remediation.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that it had not yet been possible to agree a date to meet with the Minister.  However, Officers were currently liaising with the Minister’s Office to agree a suitable date as soon as possible.  She advised that it was a matter for Members to decide whether the Meeting should take place in the Minister’s office observing social distancing or through Zoom.  It would also be possible to invite the Minister to a Meeting in the City.  She stated that the Minister had originally suggested that a sub-section of Committee Members address him in his office in Stormont.  However, with the introduction of restrictions it was agreed that this would be carried out via Zoom.

 

Alderman Ramsey referred to the fact that more Members of Committee could attend the meeting if it were held through Zoom.  He queried if the preparation process commencing 2018/19 through until 2021/22 had begun which was the Remediation Strategy and Approach.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that the update received from DAERA stated that the Court Case was due to begin in early September and if this proceeded according to the intended schedule they would have more of an idea in regards to the timescales and deadlines for the project.

 

Councillor McCann acknowledged the start date for the Criminal Proceedings which had been scheduled for a long time.  It was currently planned for 7 or 8 September, however, according to information from the Bar Library in Belfast this was unlikely due to the backlog of cases arising from COVID19 and they suggested that realistically these proceedings would not start before the end of January 2021.  He expressed concern at this considerably lengthy process and acknowledged that whilst Criminal Proceedings were ongoing Council was limited in what action it could take or the comments which could be made. 

 

He then referred to the Mobuoy Remediation Task and Finish Group whose suggested eleven members consisted of representatives from Council, DAERA and SIB and expressed concern that none of these representatives had any experience in regards to campaigning against the situation at Mobuoy Road.  He referred to a number of people who had campaigned passionately about Mobuoy Road and who had extensive expertise on the subject and questioned why they had not been invited to sit on the Task and Finish Group.  He made specific reference to Paul Hughes of the Enagh Youth Forum, Nuala Crilly from the Gathering and Mary McGuigan from Zero  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER26/20

ER27/20

Waiver of Burial Charges - Update pdf icon PDF 135 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 update Members with regard to the waiver of burial fees and seek comments and recommendations on these arrangements following announcements by the Northern Ireland Executive with regard to the numbers permitted to attend burial services.

 

Councillor Boyle suggested that the burial charges were reintroduced at a rate of 50% of the original fee over the coming three months.

 

Subsequently Councillor Boyle Proposed

 

That    that burial charges are reintroduced at a rate of 50% of the original fee over the coming three months.

 

Councillor Jackson said it was his Party’s opinion that given the recent easing of restrictions around funerals and the reduction in the number of COVID19 related deaths, the time was now right to reinstate burial charges with a caveat that if a second wave occurred and restrictions were reintroduced, the matter would be reviewed.  He acknowledged that there had been communication with DfC regarding financial support for those experiencing financial difficulties in regards to funeral costs and enquired if the 50% reduction would eliminate them from assistance from DfC.  Essentially would Council be placing an additional financial burden on those affected by imposing a 50% fee.

 

The Head of Environment said he understood that burial charges were covered as part of the claim.   However, he was unsure of whether or not these were means tested.  He said any charges applied by Council which could be recovered by individuals would be covered under the scheme.

 

Alderman Ramsey stated that this was one of the most important moral decisions taken by Council for those individual families who were unable to attend the funeral service of their loved ones.  However, he did agree that as the restrictions around funerals had eased somewhat with the possibility of further easing in the future, he felt that this was time to reintroduce burial charges.  However, if further restrictions were imposed in the future the situation be reviewed.

 

Alderman McKane also agreed with the reinstatement of burial charges at this stage given the easing of restrictions and the reduction in deaths and the fact that this Council area had a significantly low death rate from COVID 19.  The matter would be left open for review if there were any changes in the situation

 

Councillor Carr also agreed with the reintroduction of burial charges at this stage with the caveat that they would remain waived for families who had lost a loved one as a result of COVID19.   He further suggested that the situation be kept under review.

 

Councillor Boyle acknowledged the views of other Members that the burial charges be reinstated at this stage.  He pointed out that although restrictions around funerals had been eased the hardship many families and individuals were facing remained.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration reminded Members of the support systems offered by the Department for those people who were on benefits and  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER27/20

ER28/20

Climate Change Emergency Pledge pdf icon PDF 143 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 seek Members’ approval with regard to the adoption of a Climate Change Emergency Pledge, supported by an Action Plan formalising Council’s commitment to its Declaration on Climate Change.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration Officer referred to a further recommendation which should have been included for Members’ adoption of the Climate Change Adaptation Plan.  She stated that this was a detailed document and would have been accessible at the Working Group with the Climate Manager.  She continued that if the Plan was adopted it would be possible for the Climate Manager to attend the September Meeting of Committee to provide Members with a detailed presentation on the Climate Plan.

 

Councillor Durkan pointed out that she had been in contact with the Climate Manager regarding a few changes to the Plan in terms of language and the need to capture the urgency of the situation.  She suggested that the words “climate emergency” replace “climate change emergency” and the words “drastic actions required” replace “far reaching actions”.  She emphasised that the whole idea of the Climate Emergency Motion moved by Council was that climate implications would be factored into every Council decision at every level and within every Department and the Environmental Health part (c) application at Bay Road was one such example of this.  She welcomed the fact that Climate Awareness Training would be made available for staff and queried if this would be mandatory and what the uptake would be.  She suggested that in all future reports a section be dedicated to the issue of climate issues e.g. air pollution and land contamination etc.

 

Councillor McCann referred to an issue which had been raised on numerous occasions with regards to transport infrastructure.  He welcomed the recent absence of air travel as a result of Corona Virus.  He felt it was very necessary as far as possible to eliminate types of travel which used fossil fuels e.g. motor cars and which injected poision into the air.  He also referred to the need to expand rail travel and encourage greater use of trains and public transport.  He referred to the possibility of the proposed upgrading of stage 3 of the rail network being further delayed until late 2022.  He referred to the need for this to be addressed as a matter of urgency and suggested that Council arrange to meet with the Minister to discuss this matter and reinforce that Council will not tolerate any further delay in the upgrading of the rail network.  He stated that this matter had been ongoing for many years and expressed concern regarding the future of the rail network if further delays in the stage 3 upgrading works were imposed.

 

He suggested that Council contact the Executive and state that any further delay in the commencement of the stage 3 works of the Derry railway line would be totally unacceptable  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER28/20

ER29/20

Eglinton Village Green pdf icon PDF 138 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 provide an update to Members on the Eglinton Village Green Play Provision and consider the need for additional funding underwrite of £15,000 towards the overall project funding shortfall.

 

Councillor Fleming welcomed the above scheme

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that Council allocate £15,000 form in-year capital savings 2020/21 towards the project towards the OB.

           

 

ER30/20

Building Control Applications pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control 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 applications processed under Building Regulations (NI) between 1 May and 31 May 2020.

           

Members noted the content of the report.

 

 

ER31/20

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 February, March and June 2020 from DfI Network Development Section regarding proposed disabled parking bays at Lawrence Hill, Chapel Road and Castleview Terrace, Castlederg.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

 

ER32/20

WEEE and Batteries Tender Update pdf icon PDF 93 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 update with regard to arrangements relating to collection and treatment of redundant electrical equipment (WEEE) and Batteries Contract.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

ER33/20

Muff Glen Footbridge pdf icon PDF 206 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 update Members on the issues regarding the damaged footbridge in Muff Glen, Eglinton.

 

Councillor Fleming welcome the above scheme.

 

In response to a suggestion from the Director of Environment and Regeneration, Members agreed that Officers write to DAERA requesting an update in regards to this issue.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

The Meeting then went into Confidential Business.

 

ER34/20

Confirmation of Confidential Minutes of the Environmental Services Committee held on Wednesday, 10 June 2020

ER35/20

Strathfoyle Greenway - Lands Acquisition

ER36/20

Report on the Outline Business Case for the Development of a Regional Crematorium

Additional documents:

ER37/20

Proposed City Cemetery Extension at Southway, Creggan

ER38/20

Assignment of Grant of Right of Burial - Section KB No 1006 - City Cemetery

ER39/20

Tender Report - Treatment of Paints and Oils

Additional documents: